Merry Christmas!Christmas Eve at Home
It must be so that the grown-ups may devote themselves with a quiet mind, unhindered by any commotion, to these great mysteries of the Holy Night, that in most Catholic countries the giving of gifts has been advanced to Christmas Eve.
Christmas Eve is an appropriate time for the exchange of gifts, after the Christ-Child has been placed in the manger, and the special prayers before the crib — and a round of Christmas carols — are over. If the gifts are given out before the Midnight Mass, the children can concentrate more easily on the great mystery which is celebrated, when the Greatest Gift is given to all alike, even those who have received no material expression of Christmas love. And then, too, Christmas Day with its two additional Masses can be devoted more to the contemplation of the Christmas mystery and the demands of Christmas hospitality.
The opening of the eternal gates through which the King of Glory may enter is indicated by the wreath on the door of our homes at Christmastide. The Advent wreath, which accompanied the family throughout the season of preparation may be taken down. The violet ribbons are removed, and it is gloriously decorated with white and gold. It is then placed upon the door as a symbol of the welcome of Christ into our city, our home and our hearts. On Christmas Eve the whole house should be strewn with garlands and made ready for the Light of the World. The crib is set in a special place of honor, for tonight the central figure of the Nativity scene is to arrive.