I was practicing the hymns and carols we'll sing at Midnight Mass, and thinking about the service. I love Midnight Mass. I think it's the best Christmas service. Our church is always packed. People begin to arrive around 10:30, and the choir invites the congregation to sing Christmas carols from 11pm to midnight. (Yes, at our church Midnight Mass really begins at Midnight. :) ) And then the service begins and the Proclamation is sung. I get goosebumps every time I hear it. Just the thought of the legacy that is passed to us is awe-inspiring, and this condensed version of all salvation history being intoned lyrically rather than merely read seems to bring Christmas into an acute focus that's unique to the very moment. I share with you the Procalmation of the Birth of Jesus Christ:
The twenty-fifth day of December in the 5,099th year of the creation of the world from the time in the beginning when God created the heaven and the earth, the 2,957th year after the flood, the 2,015th year from the birth of Abraham, the 1,510th year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1,032nd year from David's being anointed king, and the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel and the 194th Olympiad, the 752nd year from the foundation of the city of Rome, the 42nd year of the reign of Octavius Augustus, the whole world being at peace, in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ, the Eternal God and the Son of the Eternal Father willing to consecrate the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary being made man, the nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.
I pray you all have a blessed Christmas holiday. As my Christmas gift to you, I will give a complimentary copy of my short story, Forever from Paris, to anyone who comments on this post. It's not a Christmas story, but it is a story of hope amid tradgedy--and isn't that what Christmas is all about: Hope. :)