December 21: O Oriens

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae et sol justitiae: veni et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis. 

O Dawn, splendor of eternal light and sun of justice, come and shine on those sitting in darkness and the shadow of death.

O Radiant Dawn on the day of the winter solstice, 

morning star in anthracite sky, 

how I long for you! 

You are the brilliant promise of light. 

Your justice is luminous and clear. 

Come and dawn on us. 

December 21, and four more shopping days until Christmas. I awaken knowing that Oriens beckons, the powerful O-Antiphon on the day of the winter solstice. It is the shortest day and the longest night of the year. I bundle up and step into the darkness outside to witness what the O-Antiphon invokes: in the East, the morning star is in sharp relief against the anthracite sky. Slowly, the promise of a radiant dawn emerges; I only have to be, and to see, and to witness the transformation. A few hours later, a similar dawning is repeated: the silver paten and chalice on the altar are bathed in brilliant sunlight as the young priest stretches out his hands over them. When he lifts the host high above his head, it is not hard to see a morning star in his hands, a brilliant promise of light, a radiant dawn on the day of the winter solstice. I only have to be, and to see, and to witness the transformation.

Nothing at Bed Bath & Beyond can capture my imagination today. There is only so much radiance and brilliant promise of light one needs on this longest night of the year.

Two more O-Antiphons and three more shopping days until Christmas Eve. But I have already seen the morning star in the anthracite sky.

O Oriens copy

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