Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Christmas Proclamation

A formal "Proclamation of the Birth of Christ" is traditionally chanted or recited near the beginning of the Christmas Midnight Mass and/or during the Liturgy of the Hours on Christmas Eve. The text, which comes from the "Roman Martyrology" for December 24, situates the birth of Jesus Christ within the context of salvation history. It begins with the creation of the world, mentions certain key events in the history of the people of Israel, and concludes with the birth of Jesus during the Roman Era. The following text is one of the variations of the proclamation.

Sisters and Brothers,

We bring to you this night
Good News of great joy for all the people!
Let your hearts and lives be opened to hear the Good News:

Thousands upon thousands of years have passed
Since “God created the heavens and earth”
And commanded
the waters to bring forth an abundance of living creatures
and birds to fly above the earth.

Thousands upon thousands of years have passed
Since the moment God made man and woman in his image and likeness
To fill the earth and subdue it,
To look on the wonders of the world and
to praise the Creator every moment of their lives.

Thousands upon thousands of years have passed
since the longings of humanity brought sin into the world
and God tried to cleanse it
in the purifying waters of the great flood.

Some 4,000 years ago
Abraham, our father in faith, 
listened to the Word of God
And set out for a land he did not know
To become the father of a chosen people.

Some 3,250 years ago
Moses led the children of Abraham 
through the waters of the Red Sea
and, freed from the slavery of Egypt,
they became ancestors of the baptized family of God.

Some 3,000 years ago
Davida shepherd boy 
watching over the flock of Jesse, his father,
Was anointed by the prophet Samuel
As the great king over the people of Israel.

Some 2,700 years ago
The children of Israel
again and again unfaithful to their covenant, 
closed their ears to the Word of God’s prophets,
And were carried off to exile in Babylon.
There, far from their homeland,
they began to long for a Savior,
who would free them once again from slavery,
and to look for that Messiah
whom the prophets announced
would bring  about a New Age of justice, of peace, 
of freedom and of love.

At long last,
during the 194th Olympiad
in the 752nd year from the founding of the city of Rome
and 44th year of the rule of Caesar Agustus,
some 1,987 years ago,
at Bethlehem of Judah,
a town little known throughout the world of that time,
there was born,
in a manger, “because there was no room at the inn”,
of Mary, a young maiden, wife of Joseph,
Son of the Eternal Father,
True God and true man,
called by all generations to come “Messiah”, the Christ.

He was the Savior for whom all humanity waited.
For him all things were created.
He is the Word who brings light to this world.
He is the living water, the bread of life, the true vine.
He is the way, the truth and the life.
He made His dwelling among us
And we have seen His glory.

So, on this night
As gentle silence envelopes all things
And night in its swift course is half spent, 
we, who believe in him gather together,
or rather,
our Father call us together to remember
the birth of our brother, JESUS,
and to proclaim our faith in Him who is CHRIST the LORD.

Brothers, sisters,
Be joyful --
Be at peace --
For on this night
We celebrate the Greatest News in the history of the world!

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