Now looking forward to Christmas it strikes me that there seem to be two aspects of Christmas. The first is the magnitude of the celebration. Christmas is something most people really look forward to, it is a major milestone in the year. It is a time of celebration, of community and of rejoicing together. I guess for me Christmas doesn't have as much a liturgical ring to it as it does for most people around me (as I have not been brought up in a Catholic tradition), but it has struck me quite a few times how central the whole liturgical celebration is in the whole feast among the Irish friends I have, something that was completely new to me, and really refreshing.
But there is also a second aspect, which, set-off against the great buzz of Christmas is smallness of it. The voice in the wilderness, the little voice in our heart comes from a little baby who is laying in the crib. He was not recognized by any person in authority, anybody of worldly importance, and there was not even a proper place for the birth to take place. I think this is an aspects of Christmas we can keep in our mind as well, maybe not in the next two days when we rejoice and celibate, but during the octave to deepen our understanding of the mystery of Gods ways.
The dawn mass continues the story when the shepherds go to the stable and find everything as the angel tells them. They say "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." (Luk 2:15 RSV) All the people who witness these events were wondering at the news the shepherds brought them...
So maybe the coming octave is a time for us to wonder as well at what we have heard and what has happened. To contemplate what it means that the Saviour was borne, this small little unknown Child in a stable. We can ponder with Mary, who "kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." (Luk 2:19 RSV) and make this little quite event in a little stable in a little town in Juda, seemingly so insignificant to the world, the life changing event it really was and is, a rock on which to build our spiritual house.
But now it is time to celebrate and rejoice and sing in a loud voice in communion with the heavenly hosts: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" (Luk 2:14 RSV)