The meaning of Christmas (Charlie Brown)
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In this cartoon you can learn some of the old-fashioned style English in the Bible.


-Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
-Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
-Lights, please?
-And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. And they were so afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you 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. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, goodwill toward men.’

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

"Behold, I bring you 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. And this shall be a sign unto you."

Linus is right. I won't let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas.


We're going to use the abbreviation OF for "old fashioned language".

WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT= What is the meaning of Christmas, what is the explanation of Christmas.

CHRISTMAS= The word "Christmas" comes from Old English "Crīstes mæsse", which means, the mass of Christ ("mass" is a catholic religious service) so in the beginning it was used for Christmas Day, but today we can also use it for the holiday time between Christmas Eve (the day before Christmas) till New Year’s Day. For all the holiday we can also say "Christmas season" or "Christmastide" (in Old English "tide" means "time"), and we can also say "Yuletide" (a pre-Christian name) or simply "Yule", which can be both the season or the day.

SHEPHERDS= One who herds, guards, and tends sheep.

ABIDE (OF)= Live.

KEEPING WATCH= Watching. The meaning of the verb WATCH here is to stay awake at night while serving as a guard, sentinel, or watcher. The shepherds are watching over the sheep so that nothing bad can happen to them (for instance, an attack by wolves or a robbery).

FLOCK= A group of animals going together (sheep here).

LO! (OF) = This is an old fashioned interjection used to attract attention or to show surprise.


UPON (OF)= On.

SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM= "round about" is the same as "around". SHONE is the past of SHINE (illuminate).

UNTO (OF)= To.

FEAR NOT (OF)= Don't be afraid.

FOR, BEHOLD... (OF)= Because, look...

I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY WHICH SHALL BE FOR ALL PEOPLE= I bring you wonderful news which will be interesting for everybody.

FOR UNTO YOU (OF)= Because to you/ for you.

THE CITY OF DAVID= This is one of the titles of the city of Jerusalem, because King David, the most important king in the Bible, made this city the capital of Israel, 3000 years ago. But in this text, it refers to Bethlehem, because it is the place where King David was born.

SAVIOUR= A saviour is someone who saves people’s life (in a physical or symbolical way). Christians believe that Jesus is our Saviour because with his life and death, he can save people from evil and so, give us eternal life after death.

YE SHALL FIND THE BABE... (OF)= You will find the baby...

WRAPPED= Past participle of WRAP, which is to cover with cloth or paper for protection or decoration.

SWADDLING CLOTHES= Strips of cloth wrapped around a newborn infant to hold its legs and arms still and keep it warm.

MANGER= Pronounced /mndʒə*/. An open box in a stable or barn from which horses or cattle feed (eat). When Jesus was born, they were in a stable with animals and had no bed, so they put him in a manger.

HEAVENLY HOST= Large groups of angels.

PRAISE= To express worship, admiration. Great honour, praise, worship.


GOODWILL= An attitude of kindness or friendliness; benevolence.

RUIN= Destroy, spoil.