Some of you may be too young to remember those good old days, when a barber would top off every haircut with a generous splash of oil. He would pour the oil on your head and rub it in with enthusiasm. It was a wonderful thing, this anointing of the hair and scalp!
In ancient times anointing the head often had special significance. For instance, Samuel poured out a vial of oil on young David's head to signify that the Lord was anointing him to be ruler over Israel (1 Samuel 10:1). Aaron and his sons were similarly anointed to serve before God and the people as priests (Exodus 28:41). To some extent, even the prophets were appointed and installed into their office by anointing (1 Kings 19:16; Isaiah 61:1).
The Hebrew word for “anoint” is mashah (maw SHAKH). From this word came the name “Messiah,” the one anointed by God to deliver His people. In the New Testament the Greek word for “anoint” is chrio (CHREE oh) and the word for “Messiah” is christos (chris TOSS). Thus, the Christ of the N.T. is the Anointed One, the Messiah sent from God. He will reign forever over God's people as Prophet (Luke 4:18), Priest (Hebrews 5:5-6), and King (Luke 19:38).
And so it was, after all the centuries of pouring oil on countless heads, that the angel broke into the stillness of the Judean night with these words: “I bring you good news of great joy! A deliverer was born today in the city of David! He is the Christ—the Messiah—the Lord!”