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Midnight Mass
    For Catholics, Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a central part of the Christmas time devotion.  It symbolizes the beginning of a new beginning, the coming of the Christ child, the birth of the Messiah.  Catholics participate so that the feelings that came about that Christmas Eve night can be felt.
Below is a quick explanation of how the Midnight Mass came to be.
       This first of the three Christmas masses was originally celebrated by the Pope towards midnight in the chapel of the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica in Rome before a small congregation. Pope Sixte III had constructed this small chapel in 440 to house a crèche which faithfully reproduced the one in Bethlehem.

        The celebration of mass at midnight at Santa Maria Maggiore is based on the ancient belief that Jesus was born precisely on the stroke of twelve. We owe this to the XIIIth century Hungarian Saint Elizabeth. A IVth century Latin hymn, Quando noctis medium, already reflected the belief that the Messiah was born on the stroke of midnight.

        Solemn and impressive with the happy sound of pealing bells, with light sparkling everywhere and with hymns of joy, Midnight Mass reached its high point with the procession of the Christ Child.

To see a section of Midnight Mass from CNN, click here

**Warning** This file is almost a MB in length

Prayer for Midnight Mass
Father, you make this holy night radiant with the splendor of Jesus Christ our light. We welcome him as Lord, the true light of the world. Bring us to eternal joy in the kingdom of heaven, where he lives and reigns wiht you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Many other denominations celebrate Christmas in other ways. Some hold candle-light vigils , others give birthday parties for the Child Jesus. Others still have a meal or find some way to remember the Christ Child in their way.
Some Christmas Carols and Lyrics

The REAL meaning behind the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

In church, "Christmas" refers to a twelve-day period that starts with Christmas day. This is where "The Twelve Days of Christmas" came from. The world celebrates Christmas for twelve hours, but the Church celebrates it for twelve days because the gift of Christ is with us for twelve months of the year.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" - the song
*If you would like to listen to the song click here*

When most people hear of "The 12 days of Christmas" they think of the song. This song had its origins as a teaching tool to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith.

From 1558 to 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not able to practice their faith openly so they had to find other ways to pass on their beliefs. The song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one example of how they did it.

"The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something of religious significance. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help young Christians learn their faith.

So the next time you hear "The 12 Days of Christmas" consider how this otherwise non-religious sounding song had its origins in the Christian faith.