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“Christmas” (pronounced Kris’mas) signifies “Christ’s Mass,” meaning the festival of the Nativity of Christ, and the word has been variously spelt at different periods.

The following are obsolete forms of it found in old English writings: Crystmasse, Cristmes, Cristmas, Crestenmes, Crestenmas, Cristemes, Cristynmes, Crismas, Kyrsomas, Xtemas, Cristesmesse, Cristemasse, Crystenmas, Crystynmas, Chrystmas, Chrystemes, Chrystemasse, Chrystymesse, Cristenmas, Christenmas, Christmass, Christmes.

So this is the basis for the celebration of the Nativity and if you want to remember what Christmas means where is W.F. Dawson’s own way:

Christmas blest Feast of the Nativity!
H  eaven made thy lowly shrine
R  esplendent with the gift of the eternal Deity
I   n whom we live and move, whose large benignity
S  pared not His Son divine:
T  hat well-beloved Son by God was given,
M ankind to save with His redeeming blood;
A  nd Jesus freely left the bliss of Heaven,
S  uffering death, to achieve our lasting good

As I said (unlike today) the Victorians were a very religious people some going to Church three, four or five times on a Sunday and Christmas was a special time for them.

But it was Charles dickens who really brought forth the Christmas we know with the success of ‘A Christmas Carol’, a wonderful book that digs at greed and poverty of the Victorian age, shows us scrooge as a:

Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. 

and it is Scrooge who brings the idea that anyone can change!

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did NOT die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough in the good old world.

You can read ‘A Christmas Carol’ By Charles Dickens Here