Confusing Christmas Words
Every year, many of us sing Christmas carols and read Christmas stories. Over time, we may have accepted the use of certain words, but do we know their true meaning? These Christmas words might be confusing to some of us until we discover their significance. Read this list of words, their definitions, and origins in order to enjoy a more informed Christmas experience this year.
Emmanuel or Immanuel: (from Hebrew) it literally means 'God with us'; referring to Jesus Christ and His incarnation: He left heaven, came to Earth, and was born to a virgin in human form (God came to be with us).
Gloria in Excelsis Deo: (from Latin) Glory in the highest to God
Hallelujah or alleluia: (from Hebrew) praise the Lord (Yahweh); a shout of praise to God
Feliz Navidad: (from Spanish) Happy Nativity or Merry Christmas
Lowing ('the cattle are lowing'): to utter a sound; moo
Hosts: a large number of people or things (a host of angels)
Hark ('hark the herald angels sing'): to listen closely
Herald: someone that announces or proclaims an important message
Holy: sacred; divine
Figgy pudding ('now bring us some figgy pudding'): a Christmas pudding from 16th century England, white in color, that included mashed figs; perhaps given to carolers
Nigh ('and stay by my cradle til morning is nigh'): almost or near
Tidings ('tidings of comfort and joy'): news or information
Yule: (yule tide) related to the Christmas season or Christmas day.
Tannenbaum: (from German) a Christmas tree
Noel ('the first noel'): (from French) Christmas; (from Latin) birth
Orient ('we three kings of Orient are'): from Asia
Frankincense (gift from wise man): a resin taken from particular trees; used for burning as an incense in religious ceremonies
Myrrh (gift from wise man): a resin taken from a small tree; produces an aroma that is used for perfume or incense; the Jews mixed this with wine to give to those they were crucifying; ancient Egyptians used it to embalm their dead
Magi: the wise men or astrologers that searched for Jesus (by following a star) so they could honor Him (tradition says there were three because of the number of gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh; but the Bible does not specify)
Are there any that I missed? Feel free to comment below with any questions or suggestions.
- The Christmas Story: Myths and Misconceptions
What do you know about the Christmas story? Have you been told the truth about Jesus' birth? Read this to find out how versions of this story have differed slightly from the Bible's account of this miraculous event.
- Cute Christmas Crafts
Learn how to make easy, decorative Christmas crafts.
- Christmas Blend: A Poem
This poem awakens the senses as nature and love are woven together seamlessly. Read it on a quiet winter's night in front of a cozy fire.
- Natural Christmas Ornaments
Make your own ornaments fashioned from natural materials.