New Christmas Prayers

New Christmas Prayers

Here is a selection of the new texts that we will be praying at Masses to celebrate the Nativity next week. As you will see, some pre-reading might be a good idea!

Collect, Christmas Vigil
O God, who gladden us year by year
as we wait in hope for our redemption,
grant that, just as we joyfully welcome
your Only Begotten Son as our Redeemer,
we may also merit to face him confidently
when he comes again as our Judge.

Collect, Mass During the Night
O God, who have made this most sacred night
radiant with the splendour of the true light,
grant, we pray, that we,
who have known the mysteries of his light on earth,
may also delight in his gladness in heaven.

Collect, Dawn Mass
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, as we are bathed in the new radiance of your incarnate Word,
the light of faith, which illumines our minds,
may also shine through in our deeds.

Collect, Mass during the Day
O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature
and still more wonderfully restored it,
grant, we pray,
that we may share in the divinity of Christ,
who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

Preface I of the Nativity of the Lord: Christ the Light
For in the mystery of the Word made flesh
a new light of your glory has shone upon the eyes of our mind,
so that, as we recognize in him God made visible,
we may be caught up through him in love of things invisible.

Preface III: The exchange in the Incarnation of the Word
For through him the holy exchange that restores our life
has shone forth today in splendour:
when our frailty is assumed by your Word
not only does human mortality receive unending honour
but by this wondrous union we, too, are made eternal.

Prayer over the Offerings, Mass During the Night
May the oblation of this day’s feast
be pleasing to you, O Lord, we pray,
that through this most holy exchange
we may be found in the likeness of Christ,
in whom our nature is united to you.

Prayer over the Offerings, Mass during the Day
Make acceptable, O Lord, our oblation, on this solemn day,
when you manifested the reconciliation
that makes us wholly pleasing in your sight
and inaugurated for us the fullness of divine worship.

May the God of infinite goodness,
who by the Incarnation of his Son has driven darkness from the world
and by that glorious Birth has illumined this most holy night (day),
drive far from you the darkness of vice
and illumine your hearts with the light of virtue.

This formal equivalence translation is no doubt closer to the Latin original and more theologically precise, but for comprehensibility it falls far short of this dynamic equivalence version used since 1973:
When he came to us as man,
the Son of God scattered the darkness of this world,
and filled this holy night (day) with his glory.
May the God of infinite goodness
scatter the darkness of sin
and brighten your hearts with holiness.


Elizabeth Harrington