Midnight Mass or 5am service? That is usually the choice facing individuals in terms of attendance of Christmas church services. Most times it is an issue of what is convenient, other times it’s a choice based on “what has always been done”. This article seeks to answer two questions: What are these two services and which is preferred among Barbadians?
Midnight Mass is a traditional church service held on Christmas Eve, usually a couple hours before Christmas Day begins. It was a tradition most popular among the Protestant religious denomination, namely Catholics and Anglicans. On the other hand, 5am church services take place exactly as the name implies, at 5am every Christmas morning, specifically for those who desire to celebrate the birth of the Risen Lord on the same day designated to do so.
It is no secret that persons in North America tend to prefer the Midnight Mass service on Christmas Eve. It allows persons to usher in the day with popular carols and hymns by candlelight and then basically head home and relax for duration of Christmas Day (with the exception of probably popping in on family for lunch or dinner). Interestingly enough, most Protestant churches are closed on the actual day, reflecting the belief that Christmas appears to be a day for family and not faith or religious reflection.
When we asked some Barbadians which would/do they choose for Christmas services, the responses were as follows:
Midnight Mass. Family never did 5 am. Always did midnight mass anyways…better go church, come home, sleep a little, open presents then have breakfast, lunch etc.
5am Service. It gives you the ability not only to celebrate the birth of Christ but also to attend gatherings as a family. Hence, it brings people and love ones together for more than one reason.
5am Service. It seems better that way, plus I’m a morning person.
5am Service. Honestly, I came up on morning service so that’s what I do. I honestly think it’s a matter of preference and how you were raised. People might say they do midnight because Jesus was born around that time; maybe that’s why the others do morning.
5am Service. I’m bad at waking up in the middle of the night to leave home.
5am Service. That’s all I’ve ever known.
Midnight Mass. I go because I believe you should really get that service out of the way since you should always go to a service to praise God on Christmas day. So, midnight mass gets it out of the way for me so that I can rest myself in the morning. I’m really not a morning person.
Therefore, even though most persons indicated 5am service on Christmas day as their preference, it is evident that the choice is not based on religion and when it is best to celebrate Christmas, but rather it all boils down to tradition and convenience.
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