Christmas Eve is probably one of the most popular vigils in the Liturgical year. A vigil is meant as a time of preparation for the feast which occurs on the following day. All Hollows Eve and the Easter Vigil would also be recognized by many as vigils. In the Catholic celebration during the Christmas season, we hold a vigil mass, a midnight mass and of course the mass on Christmas Day which is the Christ mass from where we get the word Christmas.
Christmas Eve is probably my favourite part about Christmas. There is something beautiful about even the term “Eve” which brings to mind our “new Eve”, the Blessed Mother, who we remember was seeking shelter in the dark Middle Eastern night with Joseph. No city lights to pollute the night sky, the stars must have seemed like the light from myriad candles, hand held by a heavenly congregation not yet known to the world but soon to be brought into communion through the Incarnation of the Most High God. A flame even brighter in their midst, guiding Magi from wherever Magi come from… outshining even the great Jupiter whose reflection shines in the night sky this Christmas Eve; like a secret reminder of what was.
The Holy Parents, the Magi, shepherds and angelic hosts all closing in on their destination to await the arrival of the Child who will forever tie eternity and time together like a celtic knot with no beginning and no end. Mercy and justice, free will and predestination, and unfathomable Divine Love ready to break forth from the cold chrysalis of the night sky.
In the silence we hear the fragile cry of a baby.