The countdown is nearly over, and in a few days it will draw to a close. It will not draw to an end, however, but to a beginning; a new beginning. Together, gathered as the one body of He Who is to be born, we shall sing with the angels “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” “Glory to God in the highest!”
For those of us going to Midnight Mass, the Liturgy of the Word will open with the words of Isaiah saying: “The people that walked in darkness / have seen a great light; / on those who live in a land of deep shadow / a light has shone.” A great light indeed we will see on Christmas Day: The light of Christ that enlightens all men and rules the nations (see Luke 2:32). He is our Wonderful-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, and our Prince-of-Peace.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that
We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man (423).
The Catechism, in this paragraph like no other, subtly shows just how big a deal it is that God became man. Read that Catechism paragraph carefully — you might miss the point if you don’t. Notice that for almost the whole paragraph, the Catechism highlights exactly when God became flesh in our own space and time, but right at the end it says something seemingly contradictory: “…the eternal son of God made man.” How can someone eternal be born at a particular time? This is the grandeur of the Incarnation of Christ Jesus.
For those of us going to Mass during the day on the 25th, St John will highlight