In the name of Christmas


Christmas is the mid-winter celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The meaning of Christmas is literally Christ’s mass. It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, from Old English Crīstesmæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038.

Sometimes Christmas is abbreviated to Xmas, the X representing Christ. Although this irritates some people, it is a very old tradition, with an early form, Xres mæsse, appearing in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of about 1100.

Christ is the main title given to Jesus, it comes from the Greek, khristos, for the anointed. This term replaced the Old English name, hæland, for “healer” as the preferred descriptive title for Jesus. Jesus has about 200 different titles or names in the New Testament.

Jesus the Saviour

The Hebrew name for Jesus is Yeshua, a name found 27 times in the Hebrew Bible. Yeshua is short for Yehoshua (Joshua), which means Yahweh (God) is salvation. It is derived from the Hebrew verb yasha which means saves or delivers and Yeho of the divine name of God, Yahweh. (Matthew 1:21—She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.)


Messiah comes from the Aramaic meshiha and Hebrew mashiah meaning anointed (of the Lord), from mashah meaning anoint. Christ is the Greek translation of the Aramaic, messiah.

In the Old Testament prophesies, the Messiah was the term used for the awaited leader. He was to deliver the Jewish nation from the oppression of the Romans. The modern English form represents this transferred sense of the liberator or saviour of a captive people.


Emmanuel meaning meaning God is with us (Matthew 28:20—I am with you always, even unto the end of the world). It consists of two Hebrew words: El, meaning God, and Immanu, meaning with us. This is an example of theophany, using God’s name (El) as part of a given name. It is common throughout the Old Testament:

  • Daniel—God is my judge
  • Gabriel—strong man of God
  • Israel—struggles with God
  • Michael—who is like God
  • Nathaniel—gift of God
  • Samuel—name of God


Lord, is the English translation of the Greek word Kyrios (κύριος) for God, lord or master which appears over 700 times in the New Testament. Kyrios was the common translation of the Aramaic, Mari, which was a respectful form of address, meaning a superior teacher, a ranking similar to Rabbi.


The Redeemer (Job 19:25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives. In the end, he will stand upon the earth) comes from Latin redimere to redeem, buy back and, in this sense means that Christ will redeem the souls of mankind by his sacrifice upon the cross.