Most Catholics that go to Mass on Christmas Eve are not going for the Mass for December 24th. Many of those who do will enjoy the end of Luke’s first chapter, the canticle of the priest Zechariah. I love the concluding verses:
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
My ears usually perk up at the words, “tender compassion.” It’s prayed that way with the Grail. The NRSV and Jerusalem Bible gives us “tender mercy.” Compassion. Mercy. Not exactly the same thing, but perhaps the saving event of the incarnation is something of both. And more, mercy “with Passion” sums up the suffering and death of Christ.
Obviously the whole Gospel passage for 24 December sings. Christians sing it every day for the Hours. It’s a good Scripture with which to finish the Advent season.