(This essay also appears in my book Whatever Happened to English? – available on Amazon.)
The Christmas season is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many of us. Just think of the many words we associate only with Christmas. The following ten words are among them.
1. Advent – Advent is derived from the Latin adventus, meaning “arrival” or “the coming.” By the end of the sixth century, Pope Gregory I had instituted in the Roman church the practice of conducting a special mass on each of the four Sundays leading up to “the coming” of the Christ-child. Similar to Lent, the season of Advent included fasting and penitence followed by a time of celebration. Eventually, the penitential nature of Advent gave way exclusively to the celebratory nature. Today, Advent is still celebrated in many churches, with each Sunday featuring a different theme, such as the prophecies of Jesus’ birth, the Annunciation to Mary, the visitation of the angels and shepherds, and the gifts of the wise men—with a candle lit for each theme. Continue reading “Ten Christmas Terms Explained”