As we celebrate Christmas this year, indeed we should strive to keep Christ in Christmas. But here’s another thought (prompted by a meme I saw earlier this year), let’s not forget to keep the Mass in Christmas. What? I’m a Protestant, so what am I saying?
I am saying simply this – don’t forget to center your Christmas around worship. Christ Mass was the original rendering of the holiday (first standardized as a celebration on December 25th in the 4th century by Pope Julian I). Christ Mass was a celebration of the birth (and also a remembrance of the death) of Christ. It was an event centered on worship.
The history of Christmas is long and tumultuous. Outlawed at times (interestingly enough by my Puritan forefathers both in England & in America), raucous and even debaucherous at other times, and commercialized to the extreme in modern times, it was really only meant for one true purpose – to be a time of worship.
So while I wholeheartedly agree that our Christmas must never be separated from the Christ of Christmas, I just as adamantly maintain that our celebration of Christmas must never be separated from worship. Public worship and private worship. However your family of Christian faith worships.
So this Christmas, be sure to take time to worship. In your home and in your church.
For my family this means gathering together on Christmas Eve for our church’s Candlelight Communion Service (basically a Baptist version of Midnight Mass without the whole transubstantiation thing, we are after all Prostestants). We light the Christ Candle of the Advent Wreath, we sing carols, we share devotions and we go forth spreading the light of Christmas. This is the centerpiece of Christmas – not the tree, not the presents – but this special time of worship.
So this Christmas, don’t forget to keep the Mass – the WORSHIP – in your Christmas!