A Merry Christmas to my faithful readers! What a pleasure it is to know you are there each week even though I don’t see you in person. So, brimming with faith and good cheer, I say to you during the week before Christmas: A very merry Christmas to you and yours!
Originally, when this greeting, Merry Christmas, first formed (back in in the period of Middle English or earlier), “merry” meant “peaceful” or “pleasant.”
So far as I’m concerned, those original meanings represent a part of what this holy season should mean. Along the way, the word merry drifted toward such meanings as “high spirited” or “jolly.” I think those adjectives fit the Christmas season too.
From the birth of Christ onward, this holiday (note: holy day) has picked up numberless practices, traditions, and customs from many sources. Examples are exchanging gifts, feasting, kissing under the mistletoe, etc. — and Christendom has attempted to draw them all together into one celebration.
To large portions of the world, whether Christian now only by tradition or Christian due to a living faith in Christ, the day is peaceful and pleasant because on it we celebrate the coming of the world’s only Savior – Jesus, the prince of Peace.
So because of a living faith in the salvation he came to bring we can seek to be peacemakers in our world, despite that world’s sometimes shocking conflicts whether glaring or subtle, near at hand in our personal lives, or on distant soils.
The word Christmas originated as ”Christ Mass,” definitely a religious term. Although for Protestants it is not a mass, a word which in its origins meant death, it is about Christ, and definitely a day to celebrate the coming of God in bodily form in order that by this means he could become our Savior.
All of this is why I send you a warm greeting and the wish that this Christmas season will be peaceful and pleasant and also full of good cheer!