Hymn: A solis ortus

From lands that see the sun arise
To earth's remotest boundaries,
The Virgin-born today we sing,
The Son of Mary, Christ the King.

Blest Author of this earthly frame,
To take a servant's form he came,
That, liberating flesh by Flesh,
Whom he had made might live afresh.

In that chaste parent's holy womb
Celestial grace hath found its home;
And she, as earthly bride unknown,
Yet calls that Offspring blest her own.

The mansion of the modest breast
Becomes a shrine where God shall rest:
The pure an undefiled one
Conceived in her womb the Son.

That Son, that Royal Son she bore,
Whom Gabriel's voice had told afore;
Whom, in his mother yet concealed,
The infant Baptist had revealed.

The manger and the straw he bore,
The cradle did he not abhor;
By milk in infant portions fed,
Who gives e'en fowls their daily bread.

The heavenly chorus filled the sky,
The Angels sang to God on high,
What time to shepherds, watching lone,
They made creation's Shepherd known.

All honor, laud, and glory be,
O Jesu, Virgin-born, to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete. Amen

(Roman Breviary)


Litany of the Divine Nativity

Glory be to God on high.
And on earth peace to men of good will.
We praise Thee.
We bless Thee.
We adore Thee.
We glorify Thee.
We give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory.
Lord God, heavenly King, Father Almighty.
Lord Jesus Christ,
The only-begotten Son.
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Who takest away the sins of the world:
Have mercy on us.
Who takest away the sins of the world:
Hear our prayers.
Who sittest at the right hand of the Father:
Have mercy on us.
For Thou only art holy,
Thou only art Our Lord.
Thou only, O Jesus Christ, art most high, together with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father.

Blessed Jesus, true God and true Man, born in the form of a helpless infant,

Praise and glory be to Thee, forever,*

Blessed Jesus, Who, having the heavens for Thy throne, didst yet choose a poor stable for Thy abode,*

Blessed Jesus, Who, being God incomprehensible, wast pleased, in love for us, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger,*

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, because He hath visited, and hath wrought the redemption of His people.

And He hath raised up to us a powerful salvation in the family of David His servant.

As He spake by the mouth of His holy Prophets who were from the beginning.

That He would save us from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.

To show His mercy toward our fathers, and to be mindful of His holy covenant.

According to the oath which He swore to our father Abraham to grant to us.

That being delivered from the hands of our enemies, we might serve Him without fear.

In holiness and justice before Him all our days.

Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, the rising Light hath visited us from on high:

To enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shades of death, to direct our feet in the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Let us pray:

O Eternal Father, Who, in compassion to lost men, didst send Thy only Son to become our Redeemer from that unhappy state: grant, we beseech Thee, that we, who are assembled to acknowledge the mercy of this time, may find the benefit of it in our souls, in the pardon of all our sins. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Who with Thee and the Holy Ghost art one God, now and forever, and to ages of ages. Amen.


Of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

When nine months from the conception of blessed Jesus were drawing to an end, Caesar Augustus, the Emperor of Rome, sent out a command, or a behest, that all the world subject to him should be enrolled; so that he might know the number of regions, of cities, and of heads belonging to them that were subject to the Emperor of Rome; and herefore he ordained and bade that all men wheresoever they dwelled should go to the city of their origin and proper lineage.

Wherefore Joseph, who was of the lineage of David, whose city was Bethlehem, took with him his spouse, blessed Mary, who was at that time great with child, and went from Nazareth to the city of Bethlehem, there to be numbered among the others as subject to the Emperor. And so, leading with them an ox and an ass, they went all that long way together, as poor folk, having no other worldly goods but those two beasts. And when they came to Bethlehem, by reason of the great multitude that was there at the same time for the same cause, they could get no shelter in any house, but needed to rest and abide all that time in a public place between two houses, that was covered over for men to stand there out of the rain, and was called a diversory. And in that place Joseph, who was a carpenter, made them a closure and a crib for their beasts.

Now take here good heed and have inward compassion of that blessed lady and maiden, Mary; how she, so young and of so tender age, that is to say of fifteen years, and great with child, being near the birth, traveleth that long way of sixty miles and ten or more, in so great poverty. And yet when she came to the City aforesaid where she should rest, and with her spouse asked harbourage in divers places, shamefacedly, being among strange folk, all refused them and made them go away; and so, for need, at last they took as their shelter that common place aforesaid.

But now to speak further of the blessed birth of Jesus, and of that pure and holy deliverance of His dear mother Mary, as it is written in part from a revelation made by our Lady to a devout man. When the time of that blessed birth was come, that is to say the Sunday at midnight, God's Son of Heaven, as He was conceived in His mother's womb by the Holy Ghost without seed of man, so, going out of that womb without travail or sorrow, suddenly was upon the hay at His mother's feet. And anon she, devoutly bending over, with sovereign joy took Him in her arms, and sweetly clasping and kissing Him, laid him in her bosom; and with a full pap, as she was taught by the Holy Ghost, washed Him all about with her sweet milk, and so wrapped Him in the kerchiefs of her head, and laid Him in the crib. And anon the Ox and the Ass kneeling down, laid their mouths on the crib, breathing through their noses upon the child, as they knew by reason that in that cold weather, the child so simply clad had need to be warmed in that manner. And then His mother, kneeling down, worshipped and praised God, inwardly giving thanks and saying in this manner: Lord God, holy Father of Heaven, I thank Thee with all my might. Who hast given me Thy dear Son; and I honour the almighty God, God's Son and mine. Joseph, also honouring and worshipping the child God and man, took the saddle from the Ass and made thereof a cushion for our Lady to sit on, and a support to lean upon.

And so sat the Lady of all the world in that simple array beside the crib, having her mild mien and her lovely eyes, together with her inward affection, upon her sweet beloved child. But in this poor and simple worldly array, what ghostly riches and inward comfort she had no tongue may tell. Wherefore if we will to feel the true joy and comfort of Jesus, we must, with Him and with His mother, love poverty, meekness, and bodily penance, as He gave us example of all these here in His birth and first coming into this world. For of the first, that is poverty, Saint Bernard in a sermon on the Nativity of our Lord, telling how He was born unto the comfort of mankind, saith in this manner: "God's Son comforteth His people. Wilt thou know His people? That is, the people of whom David speaketh in the psalter and saith: Lord, to Thee is left the poor people, And He Himself saith in the gospel: Woe to you rich men that have your comfort here. For how should He comfort them that have their own comfort here? Wherefore Christ's innocence and childhood comfort not wranglers and great speakers; Christ's weepings and tears comfort not dissolute lawyers; His simple clothing comforteth not them that go in proud clothing; and His stable and crib comfort not them that love first seats and worldly honours. And also the angels, appearing at Christ's nativity to the waking shepherds, comfort none others than the poor labourers; and to them they tell the joy of new light, and not to the rich men that have their comfort here.

Also as to the second: at this birth, both in Christ and in His mother, we may see perfect meekness; for they were not squeamish of the stable, nor of the beasts, nor of hay and such other abject simpleness. But both our Lord and our Lady kept this virtue of meekness perfectly in all their deeds, and commend it sovereignly to us; wherefore let us busy ourselves with all our might to obtain this virtue, knowing that without it there is no salvation. For there is no work or deed of ours that may please God with pride.

Also as to the third: we may see in them both, and specially in the child Jesus, not a little bodily penance; of the which Saint Bernard saith thus: God's Son, when He willed to be born, "having in His own free will to choose what time He would take thereto, chose the time that was most troublesome and hard, namely the cold winter, specially to a young child and a poor woman's son, who scarcely had clothes to wrap him in, and a crib for a cradle to lay him in; and yet, though there was so much need, I find no mention of furs and robes of skin. And since Christ, Who is not deceived, chose that which is most hard to the flesh, soothly that is best, most profitable, and rather to be chosen; and whoso teacheth or biddeth otherwise is as a false deceiver, to be fled from and forsaken. All this saith Saint Bernard. And thus much of these virtues at this time.

(St. Bonaventure)


The Angels who adored Jesus
at the moment of His Incarnation and Nativity

Let us this day venerate the Angels who adored Jesus at the moment of His Incarnation, and when He appeared in the flesh. No sooner did He assume our nature at Mary's fiat, than her room is filled with innumerable troops of these blessed Spirits, all vying with one another in adoring the Son, and in greeting the Mother; and on that ever blessed night, when He appeared wrapped in swaddling clothes, and was laid in a manger, they again descend and rend the air with "Glory be to God on high, and peace on earth to men of good will!"

Glory be to God on high. And on earth peace to men of good will. We praise Thee. We bless Thee. We adore Thee. We glorify Thee. We give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory. Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty. Lord Jesus Christ, The Only-begotten Son. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, Who takest away the sins of the world: Have mercy on us. Who takest away the sins of the world: Receive our prayer. Who sittest at the right hand of the Father: Have mercy on us. For Thou only art holy, Thou only art Our Lord. Thou only, O Jesus Christ, art most high, together with the Holy Ghost, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


The Nativity according to the Gospel of St. Luke

And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up 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 watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:

For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.

And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.


Versicles, Responses, and Prayers for Christmas Day and Its Octave

V. The Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
V. Christ hath manifested Himself to us.
R. Come let us adore.

Let us pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, Lord of heaven and earth, Who dost reveal Thyself to little ones; grant we beseech Thee, that we, duly honoring the holy mysteries of Thy Son, the infant Jesus, and daily imitating Him in our lives, may come to the kingdom of Heaven promised by Thee to little children. Through the same Jesus Christ, etc. R. Amen.

With hearts truly grateful,
Come, all ye faithful,
To Jesus to Jesus in Bethlehem;
See Christ your Saviour,
Heaven's greatest favor.
Let's hasten to adore Him;
Our God and King.

Jesus, sweetest Child, born in Bethlehem of Mary, ever Virgin, swathed in rags, laid in the manger, announced by angels, visited by shepherds; have mercy on us. R. Have mercy on us.
Pater. Ave. Gloria.

O Jesus, born of Virgin bright,
Immortal glory be to Thee,
Praise to the Father Infinite,
And Holy Ghost eternally.

O Divine Saviour, O King of peace. Who wast pleased to make Thy appearance amongst us when the whole world was in peace; vouchsafe to send us Thy peace, so that all our powers being brought into subjection to Thee, Thou mayest be born anew in our souls.
Pater. Ave. Gloria.

O Divine Saviour, O King of immortal glory, Who, in Thy great mercy, didst come into the world to redeem us and to make us holy; grant that, denying all ungodliness and love of this world, we may live soberly in ourselves, justly toward our neighbor, and piously before Thee, that so we may be happy with Thee for all eternity. Pater. Ave. Gloria.

O my Jesus, Thou well knowest that I love Thee; but I do not love Thee enough. Oh! make me love Thee more. O Love which burnest always and is neves extinguished, my God, Thou who art Charity itself, kindle in my heart that divine fire which consumes the saints and transforms them into Thee. Amen


Sermon of St. Leo, Pope on the Nativity of the Lord

Our Savior, dearly beloved, is born today; let us rejoice. It is not right to be sad today, the natal day of Life--He Who has dispelled the fear of mortality and brought us to the joy of promised eternity. Let no man be cut off from a share in this rejoicing. The cause of our joy is common to every man, because our Lord, the destoryer of sin and death, Who finds none guiltless, comes to free all. Let the holy exult, he draws near his palm; let the sinner rejoice, he is invited to pardon; let the Gentile be quickened, he is called to life. For the Son of God, in the fulness of that time which the unsearchable height of Divine Wisdom decreed, assumed human nature to reconcile it with its Author, and conquer the devil, the inventor of death, through that flesh which he had conquered.

In this conflict, which He joined for our sake, Our Lord entered the field of battle with a great and wonderful fairness. Although He was the almighty Lord, He met our bitter enemy not with the strength of His majesty, but with the weakness of our flesh. He brought against him the self-same form as ours; the self-same nature as our nature--but in him, without sin. Not of this Nativity were written the words applied to all other men: Not one is free from defilement, no, not the child whose life on earth is but one day. Into this singular birth passed none of the concupiscences of the flesh, nor followed any consequences of the law of sin. A Virgin of the royal stem of David is chosen, and when she was to become pregnant with the Sacred Child, Who was both God and Man, she conceived Him in her soul before she conceived Him in her body. Lest the stupendous mystery might make her afraid, since she had no knowledge of the Divine plan, she learned by the message of an Angel what was to be done in her by the Holy Ghost. She believed she would be the Mother of God, yet remain a virgin inviolate.

Therefore, dearly beloved, let us give thanks to God the Father, through His Son in the Holy Ghost, Who for His exceeding charity, wherewith he loved us, hath had mercy on us, and even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together in Christ, that in Him we might be a new creature and a new handiwork. Therefore, let us put off the old man with his works, and having become sharers in the Sonship of Christ, renounce the deeds of the flesh. Learn, O Christian, how great is your dignity! You have been made a partaker in the divine nature. Scorn to return to your former vileness through an evil way of life. Remember of Whose body you are a member, and Who is its head. Remember that you have been snatched from the power of darkness, and transported into light and the kingdom of God.


Christmas Ejaculations

Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.

(Indulgence 100 days, once a day.)

Saviour of the world, have mercy on us.

(Indulgence 50 days, once a day.)