Among the many beautiful traditions of Christmastide, I think the Solemn Proclamation of the Nativity stands out. Yes, I know the some of the specific number of years in the announcement may not be scientifically accurate, but it sets the whole Mystery firmly in history. I'm sure many of you incorporate the Proclamation in your midnight celebrations, but in case there are some who haven't included it, here's the text we use at our parish. Our practice is to chant it at the beginning of the Mass, and then we process the image of the Christ Child to the creche.
The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the year five-thousand one-hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth;
In the year two-thousand nine-hundred and fifty-seven from the flood;
In the year two-thousand and fifty-one from the birth of Abraham;
In the year one-thousand five-hundred and ten from the going forth of the people of Israel out of Egypt under Moses;
In the year one-thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king;
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
In the one-hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
In the year seven-hundred and fifty-two from the foundation of the city of Rome;
In the forty-second year of the reign of the Emperor Octavian Augustus;
In the sixth age of the world, while the whole earth was at peace —
Eternal God and the Son of the eternal Father, willing to consecrate the world by His gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and the nine months of His conception being now accomplished, was born in Bethlehem of Judah of the Virgin Mary, made man.
The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.
Here's a recording of it by Fr. Samuel Weber. Although the text differs slightly, if you're unfamiliar with it, it gives you an idea of the chant tone.
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