Why Do Catholics Have a Simbang Gabi (Dawn Mass) for Christmas?


For us Catholics, why do we call it “Simbang Gabi” (Dawn Mass)?

I’ve researched. I found out that Spanish priests celebrated the Holy Mass at dawn to give farmers a chance to attend the Mass before they go to the fields to work.

I have a different explanation.

Why Do Catholics Have a Simbang Gabi (Dawn Mass) for Christmas?

Since I was a child, I’ve noticed that the day is short and the night is long every December. I learned the term “winter solstice” in elementary science. This scientific occurrence happens every December for those in the Northern Hemisphere of our planet. For those who live in the Southern Hemisphere of Earth, this happens in June. The Philippines is in the Northern Hemisphere of Earth so we experience this in December.

The celebration of Simbang Gabi in December, when the day is short and the night is long, brings a deep message for me. Sometimes, the weight of our burdens in life blinds us. It can be a burden in our finance, health, or family. Because we’re blinded, we see darkness – and it’s a very long dark moment. But no matter how long our dark moment is, the sun will rise, morning will come. Everything has a season. It may be a season of long evenings and short mornings for you right now, but mind you, there are 11 other months in the calendar.

Maybe you’re asking, “Jesus, where are you?”
You may not see Him but that’s because He allows you to grow.
A seed must be planted in the ground for it to grow.

If that seed were talking, I could imagine it saying, “Oh Lord, it’s dark in here. Why did You bury me?”

But no seed is buried but planted.

Like you, you are not buried. You are planted. A day will come that you will rise higher. You will see the light. Eventually, you will become the light (inspiration) for others. You will bloom where you are planted.

This is what Simbang Gabi means to me.

What does Simbang Gabi mean to you?

#SimbangGabi #MerryChristmas2015

Jaycee De Guzman

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