Christmas is the only feast that has four Masses devoted to it. On Christmas eve we have the Vigil Mass which is on at 5.30 pm and usually takes place when it starts to get dark. We also have Mass at Midnight, which actually is on at 8pm at St Therese of Lisieux this year. On Christmas Day we have the Dawn Mass which will not be celebrated at St Therese this year and the Mass of the Day which will be on 10 am on Christmas Day.
Each Mass has it’s own Gospel which is chosen to reflect different aspects of Christmas for Christians. At the vigil Mass we have a reading from Matthew 1:1-25 this lays out the basic facts of Jesus birth including his ancestry from Old Testament times, which includes some well-known names including Abraham, Jesse and David. This confirms his earthly ancestry and links to revered leaders in the Jewish tradition. The Gospel also tells us that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit confirming his Godly ancestry. Jesus is both human and God.
The Mass at Midnight has a Gospel Reading taken from Luke 2:1-14 This excerpt tells us about the first people who came to know about Jesus birth, the shepherds. They were told by an angel of the Lord not to be afraid, they brought news of great joy, a joy to be shared by all people, that Christ the Lord was born!
At the Mass at Dawn we stay with the Gospel of Luke and the Shepherds. They travel to Bethleham and the Stable and find that the news given to them by the angels was true and it was not a dream. They found Jesus in the Manger and told his mother Mary what they had been told by the angels. They praised Jesus.
At the Mass during the Day we move to the Gospel of John 1:1-18 He invites us to think of the Christmas story in terms of heaven and eternity. He talks about the Word as the truth, the true light that came into the world with Jesus birth.