Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas by the Numbers

Numbers play significant, symbolic roles in the Jewish and Christian Faiths. For example, 7 is significant as it represents the number of creation and of perfection in general. 12 is also significant for both Faiths as it stands for the 12 tribes or 12 apostles. But what about 8?

For the Christian, the number "8" is important because it points to the Resurrection. On the first day of the week, Our Lord rose from the dead, thus extending the 7-day work of creation into the 8-day work of Redemption. In some sense, we await the Eighth Day of our own Resurrection and the Return of Christ in Glory.

For the world, Christmas is already over because the day is past and eggnog drunk. For the Catholic, Christmas is just starting. For eight days, the Church celebrates the mystery of Christmas as the day of our Lord's birth was just starting to dawn. We will encounter saints along the way, but it doesn't change the fundamental cause for our joy. If anything, it puts the saints' feastdays in proper context, that of incarnating afresh Him who died and rose for our sake, the one whom the universe could not contain, deigned to be "contained" in His mother's womb. Even after this octave of days is over, the season of Christmas is not ended. The Season concludes with the Baptism of the Lord.

So, do not take down the Christmas tree, although you can extinquish your Advent wreath. Bask in the Light which has barged into the world in the guise of a little child.

No comments: