I wondered where this phrase originated and why we always say it around this time of year. So I googled it and the site “allthingschristmas.com” says the following:
“These days, it’s common practice to wish “Merry Christmas” to one another around the 25th of December, the day of Christmas. The origin of this practice is a little obscure. However, it’s believed that an English admiral first used the term Merry Christmas in an informal letter, way back in 1699. In the same era, the phrase was used in non-religious Christmas song ‘We wish you a Merry Christmas’, which is still popular today.
In 1843, Charles Dickens used the same phrase in “A Christmas Carol.” also in 1843 the first ever Christmas Card was produced for purchase, which contained the saying! It was a perfect storm of popularity for “Merry Christmas” and the phrase became an instant hit for Christmas Greetings all around the world!”
“Notwithstanding the veracity of its origin, “Merry Christmas” has become a sort of universal term to communicate joy and good wishes.”
The first Christmas was all about communication. The angel communicated with the shepherds, the shepherds communicated with Mary and Joseph and then Luke 2: 17 says the shepherds “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this Child and all who heard it were amazed…” They communicated with everyone they saw.
The angel communicated joy to the shepherds as well. “I bring you good news of great joy…” Also implied in the angels’ message were good wishes. This great joy “will be for all the people… and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
What more do we do today when we gather with families and friends? We share joy and wish each other happiness and well-being. So on Dec 25, 2018 I would like to communicate to you “great joy and good wishes.” In other words- MERRY CHRISTMAS!