Did you ever wonder the meaning of the word Christmas? If we ask anyone, we will get similar answers that only tells us that it is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But have you really asked the meaning of the word?
The word "Christ" in the Greek version of the Hebrew word "masiah" which means "anointed". The Hebrew prophets proclaimed that "God's Anointed One," or "Messiah" will come to bring justice and peace for all people. The hope of the Messiah was freedom from all our suffering: healing for the sick, freedom for the oppressed, and abundance for the poor. Therefore, the people waited for the Messiah or Christ.
The word Christmas, or "Christes Maesse," was first used in 1038. Until then, it was known as Nativity Feast. Christmas is Latin meaning, Christ Mass. While we know that mass means funeral, by 1038, it has come to mean a worship service in Jesus' name, which we now know as Sunday morning worship.
During a different era in history, the focus of Christmas changes. In earlier days, the Nativity was the focus, and Madonna, virgin mother, and child were the focus. But since the latter part of the last century, the focus has been on Immanuel, God with us. It was no longer about the baby, but God's grace became the focus.
The pandemic has reminded us just how important people are in our lives. Some of us have lost loved ones unexpectedly to the virus, and we could not grieve properly because we cannot gather in large groups. Some of us have experienced the loneliness we hope we will never have to endure again as we could not gather with friends. We have come to see just how important an occasional text, email, or phone call was to us.
This Christmas has reminded us just how important the message of God's presence in our world is to give us hope for the future. The world is looking for evidence of God's presence, and you are that evidence. The love you show every day reveals that Christmas is real and that God is present in our world. Christmas is real because you make it real.
This Christmas, let us celebrate God with us. Immanuel.