December 1, 2005

Important Word Note for the Christmas season...

Charlene has a book of Advent meditations, and she read me this:

The English word "merry" did not originally convey "jolly, mirthful." It was 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 it is a blessing from God invoked upon them—"God rest ye peacefully, gentlemen."

Thus, Merry Christmas," when spoken to one another, is a
* Update: This post seems to be in error. The definition does not appear in the OED. See comments. Posted by John Weidner at December 1, 2005 5:12 PM
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