The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

Most years our Christmas liturgy at St. Philip’s begins with the processional hymn, O Come All Ye Faithful. Along the way the procession stops at the creche to place Jesus in the manger and offer prayers. This year we will first hear The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ and then begin the processional hymn.

The Christmas Proclamation as it is sometimes called comes from the Roman Martyrology. It is usually read on Christmas Eve before the Midnight Mass. The proclamation sets the birth of Jesus in relationship to events of the Old Testament as well as the Greek and Roman worlds. It is a way of dating Jesus’ birth different from modern dating systems. The National Catholic Register offers a helpful explanation of this method of dating. The introduction to the proclamation comes from the Diocese of Crookston. There are several versions and translations of the proclamation. The proclamation below contains a few changes, clarifications, I made based on the different translations.

The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

Throughout the season of Advent, the Church has reflected on God’s promises, so often spoken by the prophets, to send a savior to the people of Israel who would be Emmanuel, that is, God with us. In the fullness of time those promises were fulfilled. With hearts full of joy let us hear the proclamation of our Savior’s birth.

Christmas Proclamation, Christmas, Incarnation, Liturgy, Midnight Mass
Birth of Jesus by Giotto di Bondone, 14th century fresco (source)

The Twenty-fifth Day of December,

when ages beyond number had run their course from the creation of the world,

when God, in the beginning, created heaven and earth, and formed humankind in his own image and according to his own likeness;

when century upon century had passed since the Almighty, as a sign of covenant and peace, set his bow in the clouds after the Great Flood;

in the twenty-first century since Abraham, our father in faith, and his wife Sara came out of Ur of the Chaldees;

in the thirteenth century since the People of Israel were led by Moses in the Exodus from Egypt;

eleven hundred years from the time of Ruth and the Judges;

around the thousandth year since David was anointed King;

in the sixty-fifth week of the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

in the year seven hundred and fifty-two since the foundation of the City of Rome;

in the forty-second year of the reign of Caesar Octavian Augustus, the whole world being at peace;

Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming and loving presence, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and when nine months had passed since his conception, was born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem of Judea, and was made man.

The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

10 thoughts on “The Proclamation of the Birth of Christ

  1. Thanks for the Christmas Proclamation – I like the ‘tweaking’ of parts of it, and will use here in Kingston SE, Sth Australia, this Christmas.

    Fr. David


    1. Narelle, so glad you hear the awe in the proclamation, me too. It reminds me that God is stirring and history is active, almost as if those are the world’s contractions, labor, to bring forth the birth of Jesus.

      A blessed and joyous Christmas to you,

      Liked by 1 person

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