Good people are always campaigning to put Christ back in Christmas. Let’s go one further. Let’s put the Mass- part-of-it back into our Christmas.
Back before there was any Santa Claus. Even back before the birth of Santa’s prototype of St. Nicolas; people celebrated the birthday of Jesus with a special Mass. The Mass was so central to the celebration that it was called Christ’s-Mass-Day, later shortened to Christmas Day.
I have been offering Mass almost every day for sixty-one years, so let me say something about the Mass part of my Christmas. First of all, I see it rooted in the Last Supper.
As the host at the Last Supper Jesus offered up the blessing on behalf of everyone at table with him. In using his own words that night, he asked everyone to join him in recalling all God’s blessings. Next, he asked them to join him in calling down God’s Spirit to bring them together.
Then, came the most important part of the table blessing. He told the assembled Apostles that he was making a Pleasing Gift of himself to the Father, and he asked them to become part of the Pleasing Gift with him.
In our First Century accounts of the Mass it was the people’s joining Jesus as part of the Pleasing Gift that made the Mass a sacrifice for them.
Of course, we all know that their Greek word for the Pleasing Gift was the Eucharist. We put the Mass back in Christmas by offering up our hearts as part of Christ’s Pleasing Gift of himself.