“Apart from the annual celebration of the Paschal Mystery, the Church has no more ancient custom than celebrating the memorial of the Nativity of the Lord and of his first manifestations, and this takes place in Christmas Time.” This celebration begins with the First Vespers of Christmas and ends on the Sunday after the Epiphany. The earliest records of the feast of Christmas may be traced back to the middle of the fourth century, and the date of December 25 as the day of Christ’s birth is found in the oldest Roman liturgical calendar of 354.
To nourish our faith and our prayer, we want to be inspired by the current texts of the liturgy: the Roman Missal and the Liturgy of the Hours. Remember that liturgical prayers are always addressed to the Father, through Christ, in the Spirit.
It is “the annual celebration of the Nativity of your Only Begotten Son,” the “festivities” that make manifest “the beginnings of our redemption,” the “wondrous beginning of the redemption of your people.” It is an “awe-filled mystery” in which “the just adoration of the […] greatness” of God takes place. The nocturnal beginning of the celebrations, inspired by the Gospel, allows us to remember that God has “made this most holy night radiant with the splendor of Christ, the true light of the world.” This “new light of your incarnate Word” must “envelop us” and must then “shine through in our deeds.”