Good people are always campaigning to put Christ back in Christmas. Let’s go one further. Let’s put Christ’s Mass back in Christmas.
Back before there was any Santa Claus. Even back before the birth of Santa’s prototype, 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 like having the opening chapter of John’s Gospel for today’s gospel. It is great in describing Christ’s pre-existence in the Trinity as the Son who was the mirror image of the Father. He was the model for the whole orderly world God created.
(Orderliness is the key to God’s creation. Dante Alighieri brought that out beautifully in his “Divine Comedy.” In the third part of the epic, Dante, on reaching Paradise, wondered how the things of heaven that he was seeing for the first time could somehow be familiar to him. Beatrice explained that familiarity by saying, “All things among themselves possess an order, and this order is the form that makes the Universe like God.”
The Son was the model for everything that is orderly: for the musical scales, for the orderly interaction of the millions of atoms in our DNA. In all those ways he was present in the universe long before he was born in Bethlehem.)
But, getting back to putting Christ’s Mass back in Christmas, let’s fully rejoice at the moment when Christ becomes present on our altar the way he became present in Bethlehem.