Friday, December 23, 2011


So what are we celebrating at Christmas?

The word “Christ” is easy to pick out. That is why we see so many people using the first part of this word to remind us to “keep CHRIST in Christmas.” The suffix “mas” may not be so simple. To some it simply means festival. So the word would mean “Christ’s Festival” referring either to the day or the season.

However that is not the origin of the word. Before 1150 Middle English the word would have been spelled in this fashion: cristmasse; in Old English Cristes mǣsse. Literally this means “Christ’s Mass Day” or the day on which one celebrates Mass to commemorate the Nativity of Jesus. Other similar words survive to this day. Candlemas Day is the day we bring candles to church in order to have them blessed. Michaelmas Day is the day on which we celebrate Mass calling to mind Saint Michael.

The Catholicity of this word is ancient and few people realize that they are wishing people a happy day on which we celebrate at Mass the birth of Jesus.



Anonymous said...

Fr. V - While on the subject of Christmas mass, I beg of you to make mention of being respectful in the church as far as talking goes before mass begins - it seems every year at Christmas Eve children's mass it's like a social event before mass starts. Some of use come to mass early to pray and reflection; that's hard to do when there's so much loud commotion going on. People come in waving to family and friends and forget to bow or genuflect to the tabernacle. Might there be a kind way you could ask the congregation to please be respectful of being in the church and to others who are there. I hate to say this, but I do dread Christmas mass because of this.

Trevor said...

Is it possible to print out small fliers stating what you said above? And place them in the pews to notify people in writing? Not everyone is dilegent in checking your blog daily (They're surely missing out!). I'm not sure if it will work, but I'm sure it will help. And a Merry Christmas to you as well!

Anonymous said...

attend another Mass


Anonymous said...

AMEN! I agree - here's hoping that we can hear the choirs this year - They put so much time & effort into this - let's show a little courtesy.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sorry anonymous there were no jazzy christmas carols at the 4. They were all traditional including the songs the children sang

Fr. V said...

When I recieve a letter at the rectory with no return address (VERY rarely) the next thing I do is open the letter and see if it is signed. If it is not I throw it in the trash. The reason for this is that that I have no way of varifying, clarifying, or explaining. It is exceedingly unfair to all involved.

That being said, this will not become a forum for people to anonymously make personal comments about persons. For that reason the above comment has been removed.

W.C. Hoag said...

A canon lawyer sent me a great message over the weekend:

Keep the "Mass" in Christmas!

Felix dies Nativitatis!pendu