The meaning of Christmas. The celebration of Christmas was created in Rome. In the fourth century there was one Mass celebrated by the bishop of Rome on Christmas Day at 9 in the morning. In the fifth century, a midnight Mass was added in the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore (St Mary Major), the principal church in Rome dedicated to the mother of Jesus. The major themes of our Sunday celebrations are: 1) the midnight Mass of the angels’ announcement of Jesus’ birth, 2) the dawn Mass of the shepherds’ visit to the Child in the manger, 3) the daytime Mass of the faithful, proclaiming the meaning of thee Incarnation set out in the great prologue to St John’s Gospel. Thus, there is a declaration of the birth, the response to the announcement, and the interpretation of the event. Christmas sums up Jesus’ ‘three-fold birth’. His first and supreme birth is when the heavenly Father bears his only begotten Son as one with himself in essence yet as also a distinct person. The second birth is, which we commemorate today, when Jesus was born from Mary. The third birth is this: that God is truly but spiritually born every day and at every hour in a good soul, as a result of grace and love.