Last year I covered the reading for Mass at Dawn, this year it is time for Midnight Mass. This is one Mass I’ve never been to as on Christmas Eve my Dad’s side of the family gets together and celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve and it just wipes you out, about two dozen people eating, drinking and chatting for hours gets you pretty tired.
On to the readings, in the first reading from the prophet Isaiah, we hear that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light and the light have given then joy. For a child is born to us, his dominion is vast and forever peaceful. This child that is born is the one promised to David, in that covenant last week, a Messiah is to come and he will rule over the world as a the prince of peace.
We next turn to the letter of Paul to Titus. This is one of the Pastoral letters that Paul wrote. These letters are to a specific person the others are Timothy and arguably Philemon. Titus was one of Paul’s closest companions and is mentioned several times in other letters. In this letter Paul reminds Titus that we are all saved by the grace of the Lord and we should be trained to “reject godless ways” and live between the two comings the birth in Bethlehem and the second one who Christ comes in glory. This is difficult for many of us to do today as there are those amongst us living in the past, others are living in the future, and there are even more who just live in the present I think Paul is telling us that we need to live in all three places we celebrating the joy of the birth, bringing the message out into the world and hoping and waiting in anticipation for the second coming.
As we reach the Gospel we are treated with Luke’s account of the Nativity. This is the only detailed account in the Gospels, we all know the story Mary and Joseph are taking part in a census and have to do the Joseph’s ancestral city and when they arrive there is no room at the inn. So Mary and Joseph go the stable and Mary has a son. Angels then appear to shepherds and announce the birth. Now shepherds are not as adorable as we have made them out to be they were basically outcasts in society and yet they were the first to hear of the birth of Jesus. Perhaps we can bring this message of Christmas joy out into the world and share it with those on the fringes of society.