Sunday, 27 December 2009

Speak like a Saxon #21: Christmas

'Merry Christmas!' - gesælige cristesmæsse! ["ye-sail-ee-yuh krist-es-mas-uh"]

What to do at Christmas time? Rejoice and be merry like the Anglo-Saxons! God Almighty sought out this world and dwelt among us. Like Christians today, the Anglo-Saxon Christians celebrated the incarnation of God at this time in the deep midwinter, remembering God's immeasurable mercy and salvation. As one Anglo-Saxon writer (in a tenth-century sermon) said: 'In these days the king of all kings and the ruler of all rulers came to this world from heaven out of love for us". God made man, who in turn was to die and be raised again to everlasting life was as much cause for celebration then as it was now.

'Let's rejoice and be merry' - Utan we blissian and gefeon ["oot-an wey bliss-ee-an and ye-fey-on"]

'Then Mary gave birth to her son, wrapped him in swaddling bands and laid him in a manger' - þa cende Maria hio sunu, and hio mid claðum hine bewand and on binne* alegde ["thaa ken-duh Mar-ee-a hee-o sun-oo and hee-o mid claa-thum hee-nuh be-wand and on bin-nuh a-ley-duh"] (This is from Vercelli Homily 5)

'Glory to God in the highest!' - Wuldor sie Gode on heannesse ["wul-dor see-yuh Go-duh on hey-aa-ness-uh"]



* Yes, that's right. Bin.

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