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In Nativitate Domini

25 december

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. He whom the Father eternally engenders in the heart of the Trinity has entered into history by taking on our flesh in the Virgin Mary. In this way, he becomes one of us, God with us, Emmanuel.

We know that as early as the 4th century the nativity of our Lord was celebrated on 25 December, the time of year when days begin to lengthen. The birth of the Savior is an event which touches all of creation. The victory of sunlight is the sign of Christ's victory over the darkness of sin and death.

At Solesmes, the celebration of Christmas begins with the announcement of the feast at the end of Laudes on 24 December. Wearing a cope and flanked by two candle-bearers, le first cantor gives a solemn reading of the martyrology of the day using a very singular melody to highlight the exceptional character of the feast. Rememorating the principal events of both sacred and profane history, the announcement underlines that the birth of Jesus is the coming of God into the heart of the world and its history.

We spend a good deal of Christmas night in choir as we relive the awaiting and the coming of the Savior throughout the solemn night Vigils followed by Midnight Mass. On Christmas day, we awaken early to continue our praise during the Mass of the Dawn, the Mass of the Day and the other daily offices. The holy fatigue these liturgical celebrations generate in no way diminishes the joy in our hearts.

The introit of the Mass of the Day, Puer natus, expresses the intimate tenderness and the heavenly light of the glory of Christmas.

Puer natus est nobis, et Filius datus est nobis; cuius imperium super humerum eius et vocabitur nomen eius magni Consilii Angelus.
Cantate Domino canticum novum, quia mirabilia fecit.

To us is born a child, and to us is given a son. His dominion is on his shoulders, and he will be called angel of great counsel.
Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has worked wonders.