The meaning of gospel at Christmas

The nativity of Jesus from the gospel

Christmas approaches. For Christians, Christmas is the time to celebrate the nativity (the birth) of Jesus Christ (see In the name of Christmas on how Jesus got his many titles). You find the story of the events around Jesus’ birth in the Bible in the gospel books of Matthew, Chapters 1 and 2 and in the book of Luke, Chapters 1 and 2.

Here from Luke Chapter 2, Verses 10-11:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The books of Matthew and Luke with Mark and John make up the gospels. They are the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible.

Meaning of gospel

The word, gospel, is used in two ways in Christianity and in the Bible. The first is to refer to the books of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John while the other is to refer to the overall teachings of Christ (which are found in the New Testament as a whole in such things as Paul’s Letters).

Origin of the word gospel

Gospel comes from the Old English word, godspel, literally meaning good story, from god (good) and spel meaning story, tale, history. It was used as the title of the 1970 hit musical, Godspell. Godspell was a university play and musical, based on the Gospel of Matthew which, after its Off-Broadway debut, had its first international production in Melbourne in 1971.

The word, gospel, is found approximately ninety times in the Bible and was used to translate the Greek word, euangelion, meaning the reward of good news, and the verb, euangelizo, meaning to bring or announce good news. Both words are derived from angelos, meaning messenger (which has given us angel).

In classical Greek, an euangelos brought a message of victory or joyous news. In English it translates as evangelist. From this Mathew, Mark, Luke and John were therefore known as the Evangelists. In more general terms an evangelist was an itinerant priest who spread the teachings and story of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas

For those of you celebrating Christmas in the traditional way we share a message from the Gospel of Luke 2:14 in wishing you a Merry Christmas, peace on earth and goodwill toward all for the coming year.

Click below for more word of the week at Christmas articles:

Noel, noel the origins of the word
In the name of Christmas on how Jesus got his many titles
Wassailing—be healthy at Christmas on ancient Christmas drinking traditions
Yule on a very old word for Christmas

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