Friday, December 24, 2010


Many people think that the word "Christmas" means "Christ's Birth."

While it can mean that by tradition, its real meaning is a little bit different.

The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning "Christ's Mass".

Let's take a look at the two parts of the word.

Eric Snow writes: "...the meaning of the word "Christos" (Greek: Χριστός, Strong's Concordance #G5547) (is) in relation to Jesus being called the Messiah. Both the Greek word Christos as well as the Hebrew word that comes out "Messiah" mean the same thing: "The anointed One."

An allusion to the title of Christos is made when a person is anointed with oil in order to be made king. Samuel did this with David when he was first chosen to be king while the prior king, Saul, was very much still alive (see 1Samuel 16:12-13). Hence, being the Anointed One meant, among other things, that Christ was to be a king (John 18:37; Luke 1:31-33). However, in the Gospel of John (John 18:36), He explained that His kingdom was not of this world, meaning, derived from it. So he wouldn't make Himself king by human means, such as when He withdrew from a crowd that wanted to make Him king by their force (John 16:15). Instead, Jesus will be made king by divine fiat when He returns during the Second Coming as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:14-16).

So being the Messiah or the Christ indicates that Jesus will have royal prerogatives, and be able to rule the earth as king when He returns (Daniel 7:13-14; 2:44.) All human governments, whether kingdoms, democracies, or dictatorships, will be abolished then, and the world will have a true direct theocracy (not merely humans ruling in God's name, such as in Iran's "Islamic Republic.") Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit, it should be noted, not literal oil (see Acts 10:38 and Luke 4:18).

Another allusion to Jesus' title here (Christos) comes from the high priests being anointed in the Old Testament when being ordained (Leviticus 8:2, 10, 12). Jesus was also to be the high priest for Christians after His death and resurrection (Hebrews 5:5-6, 10; 7:20-28). He intercedes for their sins with God the Father. So here there would be a union of church and state, of the king and high priest roles in the divine Person of Jesus under the rule of the kingdom of God.

A Mass service (which is sometimes called Communion or Eucharist) is where Christians remember that Jesus died for us and then came back to life. The 'Christ-Mass' service was the only one that was allowed to take place after sunset (and before sunrise the next day), so people had it at Midnight! So we get the name Christ-Mass, shortened to Christmas.

So, technically, "Christmas" has a deeper, more significant meaning than just the celebration of the birth of Christ.

It is really a celebration of the meaning of the gospel, and the incarnation, which we celbrate at Christmas is only its beginning.

In the end, it is all part and parcel of the essence of being a Christian.

We celbrate His birth, not as the beginning of Jesus, but as the time when God became a man for the very purpose of dying a substitutionary death for man's sin and for the resurrection, which in effect "sealed the deal."


Quite Rightly said...

And He shall reign forever and ever.

Merry Christ-mass, Joe!

Silverfiddle said...


Merry Christmas!

Susannah said...

Amen, my brother!! Hope you & your darling wife/family had a wonderful Christmas!

btw, I dig the new photo! ;)

David Wyatt said...