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.
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.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
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.
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