Leigh Hatts  

Christmas Eve

The Crib, said to include ancient wood from the manger where Jesus lay, in Santa Maria Maggiore Church in Rome

At last it is nearly Christmas.

At dusk tonight we can say Christmas has arrived.

Mary and Joseph have arrived in Bethlehem.

There will be the carols from King’s College Cambridge on Radio 4 from just after 3pm and cathedrals will have the first Evensong of Christmas.

Thanks to Covid it is now possible to watch the Grandisson Service live from Exeter Cathedral at 6pm.

From about that hour the First Mass of Christmas will be celebrated in many places. This is the new ‘Midnight Mass’ which for various reasons has been slipping earlier and earlier in recent years.

This is not the climax of Christmas but the end of Advent. We shall now begin the Twelve Days of Christmas not forgetting that the full Christmas season lasts until 2 February when the Holy Family leaves Bethlehem.