THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD
Traditionally, the Church celebrates three Masses on Christmas. Like many of our venerable customs, the origins of this practice are a bit obscure. In the Middle Ages, St. Thomas Aquinas gave this interpretation of the three Masses: Midnight Mass celebrates the eternal birth of Christ from the Father, the Mass at Dawn welcomes Christ’s spiritual birth in our hearts, and Mass During the Day marks Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, his entrance into history. Another interpretation calls the Masses by the events featured in the Gospel read at that Mass. Thus Midnight Mass is the Angels’ Mass; Mass at Dawn, the Shepherd’s Mass; and Mass During the Day is the Kings’ Mass. Whichever Mass you attend this Christmas, meditate on Christ’s birth aided by the privileged figures who have witnessed it.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the birth of your Son, Jesus, which we celebrate today. We rejoice in your faithfulness, shown forth in the gift of Christ to all humanity. Fill our hearts with the peace and light that only he brings. Amen.
Spend fifteen minutes today in silent prayer meditating before a Nativity scene. Give thanks to God for the gift of his Son.