Usually we think of days running from midnight to midnight. For Sundays and Solemnities (Christmas, Easter, etc.), the Church starts the day on the evening of the day before, its “eve.” Which is why an evening mass on Christmas Eve is one of the masses of Christmas Day.
The Vigil of Christmas is the culmination of Advent, the first two readings bring together the last four weeks. The Old Testament reading (Isaiah) rejoices, pulling all of the prophecies into their moment of fulfillment. The Epistle (Acts) shows both God’s promise to David and the words of John the Baptist about the one who is to come after him.
The long form of the Gospel for the Vigil starts off with the genealogy of Jesus. Why? One reason is God’s promise to David - the connection to David shows that God’s promise is being fulfilled in Jesus.
There’s a saying that “Behind every great man there’s a great woman.” The Gospel for the Vigil turns that upside down, showing us the great man behind the great woman – and the silent “yes” to God behind the greatest “yes” to God.
More on this tomorrow.