Christ Hiding In Christmas

Having eyes, do you not see, and having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?    -St. Mark 8:18

The Midnight Mass is the most beautiful liturgy of the year for me. For the most part, the people attending Midnight Mass have made the choice to be there, possess the willingness to participate, and bring with them an eager anticipation upon which comes a peace, a joy, and an energy rarely, if ever, seen at that dark, lonely ushering of the Eve to the Day. At the Midnight Mass, we are there with the shepherds in the fields and join them as the first witnesses of the miracle of the Incarnation, walking into that cave and falling to our knees in silent, fearful adoration. We see St. Joseph, the Blessed Mother, and the Christ Child and are quickly overcome with a joy and a peace we have never known before, but unlike the shepherds on that first Christmas, we know the reason for our joy and peace. We know that the Word of God has become Man, so that through His passion, death, and resurrection, we may become His brothers and co-heirs to the Kingdom of God. Hidden in every Christmas is every Easter, just as hidden in the Christ Child is the Suffering Servant.

In a way, Christmas is the celebration of the revelation of the hidden. At the Mass, the Holy Spirit gives us the knowledge of the truths of our Holy Faith behind the veils of the created world. In the speech of the readers and of the priest during the Liturgy of the Word, we hear God the Father speak His Eternal Word to us. In the simple, awesome actions of a humble priest during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we see Christ Himself changing the substance of the bread and wine into His own Body and Blood. In the voices of the choir and of the people throughout the Mass, we hear the heavenly choir of angels and saints join us in the acclamations, prayers, and hymns. We know that in this Mass and in all Masses, we are united with the eternal Sacred Liturgy in Heaven, with all of the angels and saints in the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, and with all of our brothers and sisters within the Church Militant. Though I may sit down in that pew alone, as soon as Mass begins, I am surrounded by a cloud of witnesses to the saving power of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection, which we have come to celebrate and commemorate. What an indescribably beautiful gift we have been given to know Our Creator in a baby, Our Savior in an executed criminal, the eternal Heavenly Liturgy in a parish Mass, His Sacred and Divine Body and Blood in the bread and wine, the saving grace of Christ's sacrifice in the words and actions of the Sacraments, the work of the Holy Spirit in the sins and faults of those who make up the Body of Christ, and the image and likeness of God in the filth and failings of ourselves and of our neighbors.

As Mass ends, the Holy Spirit asks each of us to reveal the Light of Christ within us by taking the peace and joy of Christmas to our brothers and sisters along the roadside, then bringing them to the beauty of Calvary. The Holy Spirit desires us to take the gift of vision He gives at Christmas and use it to heal others' blindness. But, then, why would we ever want to hide such beauty?

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