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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Christmas Light

Christmas is a special holy day. Normally, on holy days, there is one mass that is celebrated. Three masses are celebrated for Christmas - at Midnight, at first light and for the rest of the day. Each of these masses celebrates a sacred characteristic of the Christmas light.

At Midnight, the Christmas light celebrated in the liturgy is brighter than day in the dark of night and filled with angles and their songs. Thus, we celebrate the Mass of the Angels. It is that primordial and undimmed radiance shining above the world's darkness from before the sun and the moon, on the first day of creation. This angelic light shows shepherds the way to the Messiah and evokes the gift of faith.

At Dawn, the Christmas light celebrated in the liturgy is a new morning glory. It is the first light of day and under these rays those tending flocks beheld with human eyes the saving wonder heralded by heaven. Thus, we celebrate the Mass of the Shepherds. The brightness of this new beginning is the only newness the tired out cycles of historical life have ever known. These cycles are subject to death. But this light reveals salvation has begun. Wrapped up in the swaddling clothes of a visible existence, First Truth babbles in humanity at last. It is the sacred truth that dawns in the chaos of the world to bring hope.

In the Day, the Christmas light celebrated in the liturgy is a glory that the powers of darkness cannot defeat. Thus we celebrate the Mass of the Nations. In this liturgy, our hearts are filled with a victorious and sovereign light of peace, a light that no darkness can overcome, the light of eternal life. This unending light awaits us in the world to come but it also shines even now whenever we dare to love for the sake of God.

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