December 24: Christmas Eve

Published December 24, 2015 by Unprodigal Daughter

Christmas Eve

nativity

We made it to Christmas Eve! The readings today will be different from the ones  you will hear at mass this evening and tomorrow morning. This is because Catholic feast days do not begin until the eve, or “sundown” before the feast day, similar to our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Today’s readings once again emphasize Jesus’s heritage as a member of the house of David. The Old Testament reading talks about King David, and the notion that one of his descendants will have a kingdom that will reign forever–this is the kingdom that we know to be the Kingdom of God today. This theme is repeated in the other readings, as well. The psalm and the gospel emphasize that 1) someone will be be the Savior to the Israelites, and 2) they will come from David’s house. 

The season of Advent and Christmas are not the only times we celebrate Christ’s kingdom. The Sunday before Advent starts, we have a feast day called Christ the King. On this day, we celebrate the fact that Christ is the King of the Universe–not just worldly powers. It is an appropriate culmination of our liturgical year. Similarly, the end of Advent is ANOTHER celebration of a King, and a celebration of the eternal kingdom.

Even though tomorrow is the feast of Christ’s birth, we are really celebrating Christ’s eternal kingdom. The beginning and the end of our church year focuses on Christ’s kingdom, which calls to mind the fact that Jesus has existed from the beginning of time, and will be forever. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, along with the other members of the Trinity.

Tonight, as you wrap your final presents and attend mass with your family, consider the mystery of Christ’s eternal nature, and his eternal reign. Christ is forever and always, and so is his Kingdom.

Merry Christmas.

Opening Prayer

Christmas Eve Prayer

Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace.

– Frank Borman, Apollo 8 space mission, 1968

Daily Readings

Reading 1: 2 SM 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?

“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

___________________________________
Responsorial Psalm: PS 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 AND 29

R. (2) For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

___
The favors of the LORD I will sing forever;
through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.
For you have said, “My kindness is established forever”;
in heaven you have confirmed your faithfulness.
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

___
“I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

___
“He shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.”
R. For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.

_______________________
Gospel LK 1:67-79

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Multimedia

Please watch Bishop Barron’s reflection on the “domestication” of Christmas, and the world that Christ was born into.

Additional Activity

Many people do not place the Baby Jesus in the manger scene until Christmas Day. If you observe this practice, or you simply wish to try something new, take ten minutes out of your Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning to do a brief prayer service dedication of your Nativity scene.

Closing Prayer

Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus, 
that we may share in the song of the angels, 
the gladness of the shepherds, 
and worship of the wise men. 

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world. 
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. 
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts. 

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts, 
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

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