“No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.” (John 1:18)”
This is the seventh day in what the Church calls the "octave" of Christmas. We know from music that an octave is eight and refers to the natural phenomenon between one musical pitch and another half or double its frequency. In the Church year, it refers to our need to fully contemplate - to resonate on, if we want to be musical - the major feasts of our faith. And we do this for more than just one day, for eight. The roots of extending the celebration are found in the Old Testament, where the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23 lasted seven days. On the eighth day, certain sacrifices and circumcision (as sign of belonging to the covenant) were performed.
That is why on this seventh day of the octave, the Church serves up for us this wonderful reading from John's Gospel, his infancy narrative. No baby in swaddling clothes, no manger, no shepherds or angels, none of the trappings we usually associate with Christmas. Instead it is the powerful and glorious Word of God, heralded by John, who becomes flesh and dwells among us.
On this day, much of the chatter is the year in review; much of the focus is watching the ball drop in Times Square (live streaming nowadays); and much of the activity is party preparation and perhaps putting some of the tinsel from last week away. Oh, sometimes I am frustrated by the all-to-human frailty of the Church on earth, but days like this one, I savor the wisdom served up in the invitation to resonate with what a day like today is really all about - and tomorrow - to renew my relationship with the Living Word of God on the eighth day.