O Holy Night
As a little girl at Christmas time one of the most imprinted memories that I have is that of my family attending Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. My parents would make a really nice dinner, and then we would hang out with each other only to get out of our pajamas and get dressed up to attend Midnight Mass. One year the church we attended in Downtown Detroit even had live animals. We would come home still wide awake hoping to catch Santa in his sleigh and hear the hooves of the Reindeer on the roof. Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve (or the Vigil Mass as some refer it as) is still my favorite service to attend throughout the entire year. On this most holiest of nights we are invited to reflect on the Infant Jesus who was born not in a castle but in a stable, who was not wrapped in robes but wrapped in a dirty, tattered cloth, and who was not placed in a bed fit for a king but a manager surrounded by animals. The humility and tenderness of God was looking up to a world from a dirty, smelly manager. Yet among all the suffering in the world, there is still a longing in the human heart that is placed by God to embrace us and draw us near to Him. When we gaze upon the Nativity in our homes, churches, and out in our communities do we see the tenderness of God in the midst of the harsh reality that Mary and Joseph were not shown tenderness in their time of need but instead was rejected? Jesus came into the world in poverty, and at the end of His earthly life, He was rejected once again. Through it all God continued to show mercy, love, and tenderness by opening the way to salvation, and leaving us a share in Christ’s mission of love and mercy until He comes again.
On this Christmas Eve, this night embraces us with a holy light. We feel this silent night deeper that all nights because we are filled with tenderness and love. Baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes, just as the universe was also wrapped in swaddling clothes. It is God’s love to the world. In His name all oppression with cease and in the silence of the holy night it gives hope for a new and glorious morn.
So on this Christmas Eve, fall on your knees and hear the angels' voices of the king who is laying in a manger, who came down from Heaven to save the world. O’ Come Let Us Adore Him!
My prayer on this Christmas Eve is that you and your families will feel the love of God through the Infant Christ, and may you feel God’s loving and tender embrace.
May you and your family be blessed with a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!