Tomorrow is The Big Day, or, if you prefer, The Day Before The Big Day. Since I sing Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve always feels like The Day to me, since it’s a long day. :)
Singing Midnight Mass is one of the privileges of being in the parish choir. This, with the Triduum, is our most intensive Mass and one that requires months of preparation. Tomorrow, along with the baking, celebrating, and traditional events, there will be much practicing of the cantata we are singing before Mass, as well as the Mass music proper.
Praising God in song and chant is one of my favorite ways to pray. While I have developed a love of contemplative, silent prayer, singing is a true release, an expression of my soul and what I really feel in that moment. The Christmas and Triduum Masses are especially prayerful, since the music tends to be the same every year, so I can truly delve into the mysteries of the lyrics and the Mass without being distracted by my part.
My choir has about 35 people, give or take. Tomorrow night we will meet and begin singing our program at 11:00. For about an hour our voices will set the stage for the Mass we are about to offer to the Lord. The music is not perfect, but it may well be tomorrow; the atmosphere has a way of changing us, motivating us to offer our best on this night. I, of course, will be pacing up and down the choir room and the vestibule, as is my habit, until we begin warm-up. I am always filled with nervous energy.
The Mass begins at Midnight, and our new pastor has an affinity for chant, which I love. So I imagine the Mass will be a bit longer than usual, but who cares? Midnight Mass is truly a joy to attend. Singing “Joy to the World” as the recessional is always a high point, as organ, flute, trumpets, and voices join together to praise The Word Made Flesh.
We will praise God with our litugry, our “work of the people”, as we welcome His Son to earth. And I can think of no greater privilege than to welcome His Birth in song with my choir mates.