IN NATIVITATE DOMINI
Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ
1st Class, White
Gloria; Credo; Preface of the Nativity
Christmas is the only day of the year which keeps the old custom of celebrating its Feast at midnight. At this hour we call to mind that Mary in her spotless virginity gave to the world its Saviour. In the midst of darkness, the Light was born. Therefore the Church celebrates Christmas on December 25th, the time of the year when the days begin to lengthen. The custom of having three Masses originated in Jerusalem. A Mass was said in Bethlehem at a very early hour in the morning. Later a second Mass was celebrated in the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem. About midday a third Mass was celebrated.
1) Midnight Mass: "Dominus Dixit"
The Midnight Mass specially recalls the temporal birth of Jesus:
Deus, qui hanc sacratíssimam noctem veri lúminis fecísti illustratióne calréscere: da, quæsumus; ut, cujus lucis mystéria in terra cognóvimus, ejus quoque gáudiis in cœlo perfruámur:
Qui tecum vivit et regnat...
Let us Pray:
O God, Who hast made this most holy night to shine forth with the splendor of the true Light: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who have known the mysteries of His light on earth, may enjoy also His happiness in heaven.
Who with Thee liveth and...
2) Dawn Mass: "Lux Fulgebit"
The Mass at Dawn especially recalls the spiritual birth of Jesus in our souls, and commemorates the adoration of the shepherds:
Da nobis, quæsumus, omnípotens Deus: ut, qui nova incarnáti Verbi tui luce perfúndimut; hoc in nostro respléndeat ópere, quod per fidem fulget in mente.
Per eúmdem Dóminum...
Let us Pray:
Grant us, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that we on whom the new light of Thy Incarnate Word is poured, may show forth in our works that brightness, which now doth illuminate our minds by faith.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who...
3) Daytime Mass: "Puer Natus Est"
The Third Mass during the Daytime recalls especially the eternal generation of Jesus, and celebrates the dignity of the Son of God:
Concede, quæsumus omnípotens Deus: ut nos Unigéniti tui nova per carne Natívitas líberet: quos sub peccáti jugo vetústa sérvitus tenet.
Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum...
Let us Pray:
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the new birth of Thine only-begotten Son in the flesh may set us free, who are held by the old bondage under the yoke of sin.
Through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God...
- Guéranger, L'Année Liturgique, "Noël, Messe de l'Aurore"
- Goffine, The Church's Year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
- Gregorian Chant Propers (mp3 and music)
- The New Liturgical Movement (Introit, "Puer natus")
- What Does the Prayer Really Say? (First Mass, Missa in nocte)
- Second Mass: What Does the Prayer Really Say? (Second Mass, Missa in Aurora)