Whom have ye seen, O shepherds? Speak, tell us who hast appeared on the earth. We have seen a new-born child, and choirs of angels praising the Lord, alleluia, alleluia. [Antiphon 1, Christmas Lauds]

Year The Nativity

The Feast of the Nativity commemorates the beginning of the end to darkness, that moment in time when the Saviour first appeared on earth to redeem us from our sins. But like the shepherds mentioned in the antiphon above, we must know who this Savior is in order to be transformed by worship of Him.

The Christmas season, or Christmastide , helps us towards this end. By openly contemplating the Light that was hinted at throughout the season of Advent, Christmastide recapitulates our Lord's gradual self-revelation to the world. Indeed, the order of Christmastide feasts is based on this principle.

The Nativity of our Lord marks the first moment that the Light shineth in the darkness. Naturally, this light will first be seen by those closest to it, which is why the Masses on Christmas and on the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas focus on the adoration of Christ's own people, the Jews.

The first two Christmas Masses do this by recalling the shepherds who came to the manger, and the Mass on the following Sunday does this by recalling Simeon and Anna's exultation in the Holy Temple.) This theme is expanded upon with the Feast of the Circumcision and the Feast of the Holy Name, both of which show the relation of the Infant Jesus to the Old Law: the Circumcision (in addition to being the first time our Lord sheds blood for mankind) formally makes the Christ child part of the Covenant, and the Holy Name (formally given to Him when He is circumcised) identifies Him with the God who revealed His Holy Name to Moses on Mount Sinai. of light, and draping ourselves in the virtues and graces poured forth upon us by almighty God.

Year The Circumcision

These texts on the liturgical year are reproduced from the: Holy Trinity Latin Mass Website.