Christmas in the Catholic Church
For those planning to attend religious services to celebrate Christmas the following distinctions can be made in regards to which service you decide on.
For Catholics the Christmas Day celebration begins at midnight.
According to catholicculture.org, “Having the first of the Christmas Masses in the middle of the night is an old custom in the Church and is full of significance.”
The Midnight Mass corresponds with the traditional belief that Christ was born at midnight and also serves as a reminder “of the spiritual darkness in the world which only Christ the Light can dispel.”
Traditionally called the Shepherds' Mass, the second Mass on Christmas Day is the Mass at dawn. The focus of this Mass is on the shepherds that went to the crib of Jesus. The Mass at dawn takes place in the early morning while the natural light is increasing. The Church uses light as another theme within the Mass and "a Light shall shine upon us this day; for the Lord is born to us" will be heard throughout the Mass.
The feast of Christmas continues to be celebrated with a third Mass. Catholicculture.org says, “In this Mass, our attention is directed towards the divinity of the Child born in Bethlehem.”
In Protestant Churches a candlelight service is traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve. The church is usually dimly lit as the congregation gathers, and is darkened as the service begins. Candles are given to the individuals in attendance and are used to illuminate the church.
The service can be expected to feature scripture readings, a sermon, a choir performance, prayers and possibly Communion. The congregation may also participate in singing Christmas carols such as “O Come All Ye Faithful”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night”.
For a directory of churches in San Angelo visit here.
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