HE ANNOUNCEMENT of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord from the Roman Martyrology is another beautiful proclamation in keeping with our rich liturgical traditions. It is sung during the Liturgy of the Hours on December 24th or quite commonly just prior to Christmas Mass during the Night. (*N.B.: It does not replace any part of the Mass, nor is it inserted within Mass.) The text traces history from Creation and the Great Flood with the purpose of leading us to the time of the birth of Christ. After a somewhat lengthy recounting of history, there arrives an unexpected and unusual emotional crescendo in Jesus’ conception of the Holy Spirit and his birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is a joyful outburst, yet must be sung skillfully and with control. The text and events elegantly speak for themselves! It is a worthy payoff after much built up anticipation.
The score can be found in Appendix I of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. You can also download a reference copy here.
The rubrics indicate:
The announcement of the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord from the Roman Martyrology draws upon Sacred Scripture to declare in a formal way the birth of Christ. It begins with creation and relates the birth of the Lord to the major events and personages of sacred and secular history. The particular events contained in the announcement help pastorally to situate the birth of Jesus in the context of salvation history.
This text, The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, may be chanted or recited, most appropriately on December 24, during the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours. It may also be chanted or recited before the beginning of Christmas Mass during the Night. It may not replace any part of the Mass.
Here is a practice video, kindly sung by Taras Leschishin, baritone at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston.