Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commonly called Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to all! But first let us pray and meditate on

The Collect and Gospels for Christmas Day from the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only. begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The first Gospel for Christmas Day

The Gospel. St. John i. 1.

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to be come the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

And the Second Gospel for Christmas Day 

The Gospel. St. Luke ii. 1.
AND it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Cæsar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be de livered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, be hold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The  Gospel for a second service in the 1928 BCP in the Roman Missal was proclaimed during the Christmas Eve Mass. The first Gospel of the BCP in the Roman Missal was proclaimed in the third Mass of Christmas Day.  In the Roman Missal, the first two masses including the Christmas Eve Mass dealt with the Lucan infancy narratives since there was the Christmas Eve mass and a second Mass at dawn, with the Dawn Mass having St Luke 2, 15-20 "the Adoration of the Shepherds" as the Gospel.  The Third Mass during the old days when masses were held at most three times a day, was celebrated much later in the day and thus St John 1:1 was more appropriate.  

The Book of Common Prayer "reversed" the original sequence with the the Johannine Gospel read first in the day and the Lucan Gospel narrative read in subsequent services. This reflects on a different focus in Anglicanism.

The Book of Divine Worship (BDW) of the Roman Catholic Church permits the use of the 1928 BCP Christmas collect. It is to be noted that the 1928 BCP has the words "pure virgin" rather than "virgin" since there had always been a view within Anglicanism that Mary's virginity was to be viewed in a metaphorical sense.  Anglicans believed that Mary was really a virgin in the physical sense.

The BDW in its Gospel readings for Christmas Day follows the that of the Roman Missal.

The Catholics and Episcopalian/Anglicans of old took very seriously the Virgin Birth and this is part of the Christmas story.

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