What does the word "Christmas" mean? It means Christ's Mass, or the Mass for Christ's Nativity. What is the Mass? It is another name for the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion. The Liturgy of the Lord's Supper is called by various names. In the Bible it is called the Lord's Supper, the Breaking of Bread, and the Holy Communion. From the Greek we call it the Eucharist (Thanksgiving) because on the night in which he was betrayed Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said, “This is my Body...” In the East, Christians often call it the Divine Liturgy. Divine because it was instituted by our Lord. Just as the "Eucharist" comes to us through the Greek, the "Mass" comes to us from the Latin. The term Mass goes back to the early Church. For instance, it is used in the writings of St. Ambrose of Milan an early Church Father. Who was St. Ambrose of Milan? He was the bishop who baptized the great theologian St. Augustine of Hippo! In the first English language Book of Common Prayer in 1549, the Lord's Supper or Holy Communion was described as "commonly called the Mass." Anglicans still commonly call the Holy Communion the Mass to this day.
We will be keeping the Mass in Christmas at Holy Cross Anglican Church this Christmas Day, just as we do every Christmas Day. We will be celebrating Christmas with a Mid-night Mass on Christmas morning, Tuesday, December 25th. Why mid-night? So we can put Christ first and foremost! After all, as the Christmas carol says, "It came upon a midnight clear..." Is it too much of an effort to come to church at mid-night? Tell that to St. Joseph and the nine-month pregnant St. Mary who travelled to Bethlehem from Nazareth on foot or on a donkey. Tell it to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night in the cold fields. Tell it to a young woman giving birth in a stable. Tell it to the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. Believe me, it is worth coming out in the cold night air. Mid-night Mass is very special. You will feel like you were there at the stable 2,000 years go.
Christmas is the best time of the year, and one of the most beautiful and wonderful Services of the year is at Mid-night on Christmas morning. This year will be even more special as our new choir will be leading us in worship for the first time. We will be singing some of the greatest Christmas music ever written, including O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, What Child Is This?, and Angels We Have Heard On High. The church will be beautifully decorated with a Christmas tree, wreathes, a Nativity Scene and more, the music will be uplifting, and we will have the opportunity to gather around the Throne of grace and welcome our newborn King. A Mid-night Eucharist on Christmas morning is an ancient Christian tradition, and is something you will never forget. So invite family and friends. Bring the little ones. You will be making Christmas memories that will last a life time. Don’t worry if they fall asleep on the pew, it is all part of the Christmas experience. Beginning your Christmas with Jesus will bless you and ensure that you and you children recognize that Jesus is the reason for the season.
Everyone is invited to reman after Worship for a Christmas party in our parish hall. There will be delicious festive treats, warm drinks, good fellowship and beautiful Christmas music. You won't want to leave! Come and be blessed!
HOLY CROSS ANGLICAN CHURCH
7545 Main Street
Ralston, Nebraska 68127
MID-NIGHT MASS ON CHRISTMAS MORNING
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Wise Men Still Seek Him!