Christ Look up Christ at
O.E. crist, from L. Christus, from Gk. khristos "the anointed" (translation of Heb. mashiah, see messiah), from khriein "to rub, anoint," title given to Jesus of Nazareth. The L. term drove out O.E. hæland "healer" as the preferred descriptive term for Jesus. A title, treated as a proper name in O.E., but not regularly capitalized until 17c. Pronunciation with long -i- is result of Ir. missionary work in England, 7c.-8c. The Ch- form, regular since c.1500, was rare before. Christmas is O.E. Cristes mæsse and retains original vowel sound; Father Christmas first attested in a carol attributed to Richard Smart, Rector of Plymtree (Devon) from 1435-77. Christmas tree first attested 1835 in Amer.Eng., from Ger. Weihnachtsbaum. Christmas cards first designed 1843, popular by 1860s.