Christmas Vocabulary (Part One)

In this week’s lesson, we’re going to cover some of the words commonly-associated with Christmas, the Christian holiday that honors the birth of Jesus. In the United States, Canada, and much of the rest of English-speaking world, Christmas is both a religious and a secular holiday. Except for restaurants and retail stores, most businesses are closed. Many people engage in Christmas traditions, including decorating Christmas trees and exchanging gifts, even if they do not follow the Christian faith themselves.


Christmas Day: December 25th. While the Bible suggests that Jesus was mostly likely born in the spring or summer, His birth is traditionally observed at the end of the December to coincide with the Winter Solstice.


Christmas Eve: December 24th, the day before Christmas.


Advent: A season observed in many Christian cultures as a time of waiting for the Nativity (birth) of Jesus at Christmas. Advent begins the fourth Sunday before Christmas.


Advent Calendar: A special calendar used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. Advent calendars often take the form of large rectangular cards with windows or doors, one for each day leading up to Christmas. The doors open to reveal an image, a poem, a portion of a story (such as the story of the Nativity of Jesus), or a small gift, such as a toy or a chocolate item


Angel: A spiritual being who acts as a messenger of God.


Bethlehem: The small Middle-Eastern town where Jesus is believed to have been born.


Christ: The title of Jesus, which can also be used as a substitute for His name.


Christian: A person who believes in the divinity of Jesus.


Christianity: The religion based on the teachings and divinity of Jesus.


Christmas card: A greeting card sent to friends and family to celebrate Christmas.


Christmas carols: Religious songs and traditional hymns sung at Christmas.


Christmas presents: Gifts given and exchanged between friends, family, and loved ones, usually on Christmas Day.


Christmas tree: An evergreen tree decorated with Christmas ornaments. People traditionally place presents under the Christmas tree until Christmas Day.


Jesus: The central figure of Christianity whose birth is celebrated on Christmas Day.

Mary: The mother of Jesus. In the Christian tradition, Mary, a virgin, gave birth to Jesus after an Immaculate Conception.


Joseph: The wife of Mary.


The Nativity: The birth of Jesus.


Nativity play: A play performed at Christmas based on the story of the Nativity.


The star of Bethlehem: A star that announced Jesus’ birth and guided the Magi to find Him.


Magi: “Wise men” who brought gifts to a young Jesus.


Gold: The precious metal gold is one of the three gifts believed to have been brought to Jesus by the Magi.

Frankincense: A gum used for incense and one of the three gifts the Magi brought Jesus.


Myrrh: The third gift the Magi brought to Jesus. Myrrh is a gum used for incense or perfume.