Meaning of "Merry Christmas" is explained
December 18, 2011
To the editor:

At Christmas we are dazzled by the shopping lights of the season. We tend to forget that Jesus Christ, the true light of the world, is present - closer to us than we are to ourselves. Wishing each other a "Merry Christmas" helps us to recall and stay fixed on our true joy.

The English word "merry" did not originally convey a sense of "jolly, mirthful" as is often assumed today. It meant something more along the lines of "blessed, peaceful" - a deep down inner joy rather than revelry.

One gets a sense of its original meaning in the well-known carol, God rest ye merry, gentlemen. As can be seen from the comma, the word is not used to describe jolly gentlemen, but rather was a blessing from God invoked upon them - "God rest ye peacefully, gentlemen."

Thus, "Merry Christmas," when spoken to one another, is a blessing. Let us greet one another often with this blessing to strengthen our certainty that the Lord came among us and continually renews his consoling presence of love and joy.

Paul Kokoski, Hamilton, Ont., Canada

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