It is fitting that Christ should have been born at night, that most of sinful humanity should have slept through the event, and that those who were awake to see it were practiced in vigilance. The shepherds, about whom we read in today’s gospel, kept watch over their sheep through the night. To stay awake was their job, and the angels in a blaze of blinding light appeared to them as they kept vigil. Then they went to find the Babe in the manger who was the Light of the World, and in the morning glow they amazed the people of Bethlehem with their story of the Child who came in the midst of darkness.
One night changed everything. And so night became the enchantment of colored lights and carols in many tongues, and the daystar became a symbol of the Son of God and the hope of the future.
We celebrate Christmas during the very time of year when the night is longest. G.K. Chesterton remarked on this when he said:
Any one thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate (The New Jerusalem, Ch. 5).
Fr. Andrew Geiger, “Christmas Mass at Dawn” Mary Victrix blog, December 25, 2016.