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Confusing Christmas Words

Updated on December 2, 2014


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.


Source


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.


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    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Very good. Voted up. It's really worthwhile for people to find out the meaning of some of the more obscure words, instead of glossing over the historical and doctrinal background to Christmas.

      Blessings.

    • jbrock2041 profile image

      jbrock2041 5 years ago from Park City, UT

      I like this hub! Thanks for sharing and making it simple. You defined some words that I hadn't even thought about not knowing. Voted Useful.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      f: That was my exact purpose. :) Thank you!

      jbrock2041: Thanks so much! I hope others will also find it useful.

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      Thought so! (smile). I'm not a 'great mind' but we do think alike in a few things, maybe. Blessings.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Well, I believe you are both smart and wise. We are both Christians so we have that in common. :)

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      We would agree that all we may have, we have received and it's by the grace of God. (But don't embarrass me ... blush.)

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Amen; I'm sorry. lol

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      A unique topic. Vote up and useful. Merry Christmas.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thank you, lambservant! Merry Christmas to you, too! :)

    • Charu Bhatnagar profile image

      Charu Bhatnagar 5 years ago from India

      very nice information.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Charu Bhatnagar! I tried my best. :)

    • emichael profile image

      emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Great idea for a hub!

      I have a suggestion. From What Child is This. "Haste, haste to bring him laud." Most people probably know what laud means, but it's one that confused me as a kid :)

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      The word 'laud' also occurs in the widely sung hymn: 'All glory, laud and honor, To Thee Redeemer King'.

      FYI.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      emichael: Thank you! That would be a great addition. I will consider adding it (with credit to you fo course).

      f: Very true; thank for sharing!

    • emichael profile image

      emichael 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Excellent :)

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      *of; I really hate when I misspell things.

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      YW. Great picture, too! Blessings.

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 5 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks!

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      Lord knows we needed this. Be blessed!

    • Ebower profile image
      Author

      Erin Bower 3 years ago from Georgia

      poetryman6969: Yes, there are a lot of confusing Christmas words we use without knowing their meaning. Thanks!

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