Monday, December 04, 2006

Advent IV and Christmas Eve

This year The Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas Eve) falls on the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Since these two days concur, the historic rubrics direct that the Mass of Christmas Eve is celebrated and Sunday is commemorated by adding the Collect for Advent IV after the Collect for Christmas Eve.

Roman and Anglican sources provide the following:

This Mass is celebrated in Violet vestments and the Gloria in Excelsis is not sung.

Introit: Exodus 16. Psalm 24.
Today you shall know that the Lord will come and deliver you: and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord. Ps. The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Glory be to the Father....

Collect: (From TLH, Other Collects for the Season of Advent)
O God, who dost gladden us with the early (yearly) anticipation of our redemption, grant that we who now joyfully receive Thine only-begotten Son as our Redeemer may also behold Him without fear when He cometh as our Judge; who liveth, etc.

The Collect for Advent IV is then said to commemorate the Sunday.

Epistle: Romans 1:1-6

Gradual: (Exodus 16)
Today ye shall know that the Lord will come and deliver you: and in the morning ye shall see the glory of the Lord. Ps. 80 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock: thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.

Alleluia, alleluia. Tomorrow the iniquity of the earth shall be done away: and the Savior of the world shall reign over us. Alleluia.

Gospel: St. Matthew 1:18-21

Lamentably, Lutheran service books do not include propers for a Mass on Christmas Eve. Even the listings of Epistles and Gospels for Sundays and various Feasts found in early twentieth century German Bibles do not include Christmas Eve. I do not know if the LSB has corrected this omission.


saxoniae said...

The new LSB lectionary (both the three year and one year) has Advent 4, Christmas Eve, Christmas Midnight, Christmas Dawn, and Christmas Day.

William Weedon said...

Yes, as saxoniae noted, LSB has propers for Christmas Eve, but the color is WHITE, and the assumption - I asked Vieker about this - is that they are for use as the first Mass of Christmas after sundown. I.e., they are not the Vigil Mass, but for a literal evening service.

Still, the readings mostly cohere with the traditional Vigil readings, and the Introit is the same except for the antiphon, I believe.

Rev. Benjamin Harju said...

So it seems as if the two (Vigil and Christmas itself) are merged into one. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any precedence for "adding" a Christmas service in the early evening and "omitting" the Vigil. It seems that what really has happened is that the Vigil of Christmas is kept, but is transferred directly to the Christmas season (since it appears in the White category). The propers, other than the Gospel, are all different, but I think it's the retention of the Gospel that indicates that this Christmas Eve service is in fact a re-tooled Vigil of Christmas.

In LSB the only other vigils to remain in place are the Vigil of Easter and the Vigil of Pentecost (written as Pentecost Eve). They changed the Epistle on this last one, but the Gospel is the same.

Thus, in reference to 24 Dec. this year, the LSB calendar calls for the celebration of Advent IV.

If one were to choose to manually insert the Vigil of Christmas into the LSB calendar, there may be a problem with the duplication of the Gospel. The other propers don't seem to collide, though.

However, if the Vigil has only been moved about, then one doesn't really need to manually insert anything.