Christmas Eve is also the the feast day of Saint Eve…and Saint Adam, too.
“Virgin Mary Consoles Eve”
Crayon and pencil by Sr. Grace Remington, OCSO
Copyright 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
Yes, Adan and Eve are saints in the Catholic Church, and they are traditionally honored on December 24th, Christmas Eve. They are the exemplars of humble penance for their original crime against God.
Previously, medieval Christians enjoyed performances on Christmas Eve called “Paradise Plays” that recounted how Adam and Eve lost their innocence by eating the fruit of the tree. Some have speculated that the placement of a tree decorated with red apples for this dramatic paradise play is the true origin of the Christmas Tree decorated with red apples or red ornaments. Soon, the people copied the practice and placed “paradise trees” in their homes.
The paradise play recounts how when Adam and Eve sinned, God promised them a Redeemer born of a Woman who would crush the serpent’s head:
“I will put enmities between you and the woman, and your seed and her seed: she shall crush your head, and you shall lie in wait for her heel” (Gen 3:15).
This drama anticipated the reversal of the Fall with the miraculous birth of the Christ Child from the stainless womb of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
The symbolism of this drama is that Adam is the chief peccator and that Eve is the co-peccatrix who brought all of mankind into the bondage of original sin. Christmas introduces Jesus Christ as the New Adam Redemptor and Mary as the New Eve Coredemptrix as those who liberate mankind from sin into grace and glory.
Mary is the foretold “Woman” of Genesis 3:15 who bears the Redeeming “Seed” who is Jesus Christ. The long expectation of Adam and Eve for the birth of the promised Child has finally arrived.
So happy feast day of Adam and Eve!
ad Jesum per Mariam,
PS: I’ve been told that the Eastern Church commemorate Adam and Eve on the Sunday before Christmas. Can anyone verify this for us?