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-two 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 their ritual three-part table blessing.
Next, he asked them to join him in a lively awareness that God was right there with them, and they were right there with God.
Then, came the most important part of the table blessing. Jesus sacrificed him self as a pleasing gift to the Father. At the same time, he asked all present to sacrifice their selfs as part of the same pleasing gift.
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, as pat of his Eucharist That would make this a real Christmas.