Mass Readings for the The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
For the Vigil Mass
- First Reading – Isaiah 62:1-5: “As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 89: “For ever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
- Second Reading – Acts 13:16-17, 22-25: “From this man’s descendants God, according to his promise, has brought to Israel a savior, Jesus.”
- Gospel – Matthew 1:1-25 or Matthew 1:18-25: “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
For Mass During the Night
- First Reading – Isaiah 9:1-6: “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 96: “Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.”
- Second Reading – Titus 2:11-14: “The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ”
- Gospel – Luke 2:1-14: “For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”
For Mass at Dawn
- First Reading – Isaiah 62:11-12: “See, the LORD proclaims to the ends of the earth: say to daughter Zion, your savior comes!”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97: “A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.”
- Second Reading – Titus 3:4-7: “He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.”
- Gospel – Luke 2:15-20: “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
For Mass During the Day
- First Reading – Isaiah 52:7-10: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, ‘Your God is King!’”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 98: “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.”
- Second Reading – Hebrews 1:1-6: “In these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.”
- Gospel – John 1:1-18 or John 1:1-5, 9-14: “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”
Themes for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
Christmas is an important celebration in the Church. Only Easter carries a greater significance. On this feast we celebrate the incarnation of our Lord – God choosing to become one of us.
Christmas is celebrated as an octave – eight days of observance.
The Christmas season starts on December 25 with the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and concludes on the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord . It includes the Feast of the Epiphany.
- God chooses to walk with us
- The person of Jesus Christ
See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord.
Resources for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
Have a Birthday Party for Jesus
Teach your young friends about Christmas by having a birthday party for Jesus! You can do this as a Christmas or Epiphany activity. We had our high school students plan and run the party for their young siblings, nieces, nephews, and neighbors.
Why Linus Drops His Blanket
A Charlie Brown Christmas emphasizes the religious nature of the holiday. But did you ever notice that Linus drops his blanket during the show?
Shopping with the Fourth Wise Man
Imagine trying to come up with the perfect gift for our savior. How did the wise men handle it? A humorous skit.
Homilies and Reflections for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
From Bishop Robert Barron. “Merry Christmas friends! As you gather today with family and friends, it is likely that someone, at some point, will bring in a newborn. And everybody will want to see the baby. The whole room will stop whatever they are doing to see this child. There is something irresistibly charming about babies; they bring out the best in us and call forth love from us. Well, at the center of our Christmas celebration is a strange, astonishing fact: God became a baby. The all-powerful Creator of the universe, the reason why there is something rather than nothing, became a baby too weak even to raise his own head. This was a stroke of divine genius. Again and again the Hound of Heaven sought us out, and again and again we ran away. But who can finally resist the baby who is God?”
The Christmas Gift
Jeff Cavins opens up the readings for Christmas and encourages us to bring the gift of our Savior into our lives and the lives of all around us.
A Christmas homily from Bishop Robert Barron. “Our Gospel for Christmas day is, of course, one of the most famous texts in the entire Bible: the Prologue to the Gospel of John. In many ways, it is the entire Gospel, indeed the entire Bible, in miniature.”
Only One Message
From Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. “There’s really only one message, and we just have to keep saying it until finally we’re undefended enough to hear it and to believe it: there is no separation between God and creation. That’s the message. But we can’t believe it.” Continue reading.
In the Beginning was the Word
Another Christmas homily from Bishop Barron of Word on Fire. “The Prologue of the Gospel of John sums up the whole of the Christian message. It tells the story of a re-creation through the Word made flesh. All will be restored to union with the Godhead. This is the good news Christians continue to proclaim.”
From Scott Hahn. “The Church’s liturgy rings in Christmas with a joyful noise. We hear today of uplifted voices, trumpets and horns, and melodies of praise.” Continue reading.
Christmas: A Time for Hope
Fr. Mike Schmitz explains what it means for Christmas to be a season of hope, and reminds us that strengthening our relationship with Jesus while learning to trust him is the one thing that matters this season.
More Thoughts for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
It seems too good to be true. Why would God want to be with us, to walk in our world and feel our pain? Because we are his and he loves us. Jesus Christ is the complete solidarity of God with his creation.
So live with hope. No matter what, God is here. Christ is now. We are not orphaned children. We are the beloved children of God.
Reflection Questions for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
- Do I really believe that God is with me?
- What difference does the birth of Jesus make in my life?
- What can I do this week to bring the hope of Christmas to my world?
Quotes and Social Media Graphics for Christmas Day – The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord
Contemplating the Baby Jesus, with His humble and infinite love, let us say to Him, very simply: “Thank you for doing all this for me!”Pope Francis
God is in love with us. He draws us to Him with tenderness by being born poor and fragile among us, like one of us.Pope Francis
Faced with our frailties, the Lord does not withdraw. He does not remain in his blessed eternity and in his infinite light, but rather he draws close, he makes himself incarnate, he descends into the darkness. This is God’s work: to come among us.Pope Francis
Tonight a light has been lit, a kindly light, reminding us that in our littleness, we are beloved sons and daughters, children of the light. Let us rejoice together, for no one will ever put out this light, the light of Jesus, who tonight shines brightly in our world.Pope Francis
Sadly, most people’s image of God is jolly Santa, making a list and checking it twice, finding out who’s naughty or nice. It’s certainly not this humble, helpless baby who has come to love us in ways that we’re not ready to be loved.Fr. Richard Rohr
This is the lesson of Christmas: humility is the great condition for faith, for the spiritual life and for holiness. May the Lord grant it to us as a gift.Pope Francis
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