Okay, it is 4.25 a.m. Christmas Eve. And I can’t sleep.
Not sleeping is nothing new. Welcome to my life.
I’m adding items to a Christmas to do list.
And getting so excited about Christmas tomorrow. The Midnight Mass tonight. The Nativity of Our Lord.
In the liturgical year there is a historical progression, beginning in Advent with the waiting for the coming of the Messiah.
Followed by the remembrance of His birth at Christmas.
During the Sundays after Epiphany, the Holy Childhood is commemorated, while during Lent we are reminded of the fasting in the desert and the Passion of Our Lord.
The sacred cycle is completed at Eastertide, when we celebrate the Resurrection and Ascension of Our Lord and the Descent of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles.
Notes from the Roman Missal (1962): Christmastide (The Christmas Cycle)
II. CHRISTMASTIDE (from the Vigil of the Nativity [December 24] through the Baptism of Our Lord [January 13]).
During the Season of Advent we longed for the coming of Christ. In Christmastide we experience the joy of His coming into the world.
The Church is full of the Mystery of the Incarnation of Christ. Jesus as God, begotten of the substance of the Father before all the ages and born of the substance of His Mother in the world, is given to us. ‘And His Name shall be called the Angel of Great Counsel.’
By the union of our souls with Jesus born to human life, we are born to the divine life. ‘As many as receive Him He gave them power to be made Sons of God.’ (St. John)In the birth of Jesus we learn to know God as His Father: ‘All things are delivered to Me by My Father. And no one knoweth the Father but the Son and he whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him.’ (St. Matthew)
During Christmastide, the liturgy shows us the Messias as the Son of God, clothed with humanity, glorified by the humble surprised shepherds, and adored by the Magi from the East.
Let us fall down before the Child and bless God, for the birth of Jesus is the beginning of our Redemption through grace to the supernatural life.
Christmas is the only day of the year which keeps the custom of celebrating its Feast at midnight. At this hour we call to mind that Mary in her spotless virginity gave to the world its Saviour. In the midst of the darkness, the Light was born. Therefore the Church celebrates Christmas on December 25, the time of the year when the days begin to lengthen.
Whereas Advent is the season of the ‘absence of Jesus,’ Christmastide is a season of great joy in our possession of the Saviour.
I love the history, the significance, the outward expression of our Christianity, seen in our celebration of the liturgical year.