Christmas Eve Prayers
"While all things were in quiet silence, and the night was in the midst of her course, Your almighty Word, O Lord, came down from heaven from Your Royal Throne" (Introit for Sunday within the Octave of Christmas).
Officiant: From the Roman Martyrology:
In the twenty-fourth day of the month of December; In the year five-thousand one-hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;
In the year two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty-seven from the flood;
In the year two-thousand and fifty-one from the birth of Abraham;
In the year one-thousand five-hundred and ten from the going forth of the people of Israel out of Egypt under Moses;
In the year one-thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king;
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
In the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
In the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of Rome;
In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus;
In the sixth age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace--
eternal God and the Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His gracious coming, having been con- ceived of the Holy Ghost, and the nine months of His conception being now accomplished, (all kneel) was born in Bethlehem of Judah of the Virgin Mary, made man. The birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.
All: Thanks be to God.
(The Child is now placed in the crib by the youngest child, while all sing the following antiphon.)
All sing: This day Christ is born; this day the Savior hath appeared; this day angels are singing on earth, archangels are rejoicing. This day the just are glad and say, Glory to God in high heaven, alleluia.
All: (All pray Psalm 109, one of the great Messianic psalms.)
The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand * till I make your enemies your footstool."
The scepter of your power the Lord will stretch forth from Sion: * "Rule in the midst of your enemies.
Yours is princely power in the day of your birth, in holy splendor; * before the day-star, like the dew, I have begotten you."
The Lord has sworn, and he will not repent: * "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedech."
The Lord is at your right hand; * he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will do judgment on the nations, heaping up corpses; * he will crush heads over the wide earth.
From the brook by the wayside he will drink; * therefore will he lift up his head.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son * and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.
All sing: This day Christ is born; this day the Savior hath appeared; this day angels are singing on earth, archangels are rejoicing: This day the just are glad and say, Glory to God in high heaven, alleluia.
Reader reads the Gospel from the Christmas Mass at Midnight.
All: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good will. We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. We give Thee thanks for Thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.
O Lord, the Only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father. Thou who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Thou who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For Thou only are holy. Thou only art the Lord. Thou only Jesus Christ, art most high.
With the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Officiant: O Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry come to You.
Officiant: Let us pray. O God, who made this most holy night to shine forth with the brightness of the true Light, grant we beseech Thee, that we who have known the mystery of His light on earth, may attain the enjoyment of His happiness in heaven. Who lives and reigns with Thee forever and ever.
(The last window of the Advent Tower, masking the Christmas scene could be opened here.)
Officiant: Bless, we beseech Thee, Almighty God, this crib (he sprinkles it with holy water) which we have prepared in honor of the new birth in the flesh of Thine only begotten Son, that all who devoutly contemplate in this image the mystery of His Incarnation, may be filled with the light of His glory. Who lives and reigns with Thee forever and ever.
Officiant intones a familiar Christmas carol to end--appropriately "Silent Night" or "O Come, All Ye Faithful."