December 25th draws near! In many languages it is simply known as “The Birth” as in Italian Natale or Spanish Navidad, and probably French Noel. All these come ultimately from the Latin “natalis” – the birth. In Germany it’s Weinachten Holy Night.
Yet the English speaking world makes it more clearly Christ-centred – the word Christmas is a shortened form of “Christ’s Mass”. It is the day when we celebrate the Mass of Christ! Well, of course we can celebrate the Mass any day, and surely every Mass is a Mass “of Christ”. Yet there is a profound link between the Birth of Christ and the Mass of Christ, and that link can be found in the meaning of the season we are celebrating now. The coming of Christ – the Jesus who comes in every Mass is the same one who came at Bethlehem so long ago. When we receive Holy Communion it is a personal Advent, a personal coming of Jesus to us, yes, a personal Bethlehem.
So to observe and celebrate Christmas without the Mass is not being true to the meaning of the word – the Mass of Christ. But it also breaks that link between the Feast and the Eucharist – the God who Comes.
Our Masses for Christmas will again follow a pattern similar to past years:
Christmas Eve – 6.00pm St Paul’s, St Brigid’s and Christ the King. 10.00pm Christ the King Church
Christmas Day – 9.00am St Paul’s, 10.00am Christ the King, 11.00am St Brigid’s
Remember also we have our 3 Churches Carol Service one week earlier, on Wednesday 18 December at 7pm in St Brigid’s. Do invite friends etc to a Christmas Mass, and / or the Carols, and spread the celebration of the Coming of Jesus.