For some reason, Christmas Eve is always somewhat of a struggle for me. I am never "ready." I am always emotionally drained. It is one time of the year that I long to be part of a religious community. A secular priest is part of many people's Christmas but always sort of "outside." Anyhow by this time on Christmas Eve, I usually have some sort of melancholy, and it is the same this year. I already know that this silly mood will evaporate in the reality of the Mass of Christmas. It is always good to get a preview from Rome of the joy of Christmas. Here is a little bit of what Pope Benedict said at Midnight Mass:
"The Fathers of the Church offer a remarkable commentary on the song that the angels sang to greet the Redeemer. Until that moment – the Fathers say – the angels had known God in the grandeur of the universe, in the reason and the beauty of the cosmos that come from him and are a reflection of him. They had heard, so to speak, creation’s silent song of praise and had transformed it into celestial music. But now something new had happened, something that astounded them. The One of whom the universe speaks, the God who sustains all things and bears them in his hands – he himself had entered into human history, he had become someone who acts and suffers within history. From the joyful amazement that this unimaginable event called forth, from God’s new and further way of making himself known – say the Fathers – a new song was born, one verse of which the Christmas Gospel has preserved for us: 'Glory to God in the highest heavens and peace to his people on earth'."