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 Today there seems a greater intensity in the call of the O Antiphon. It is the last one, the end of the Advent season, since tomorrow we shall keep vigil for the birth of the Messiah. Into the musical corner of my mind this morning as I read the antiphon came the tune and words: “Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.” I don’t remember much of that hymn but I think the important idea is that the waiting had been centuries long for the Hebrews, yet they kept an expectant hope alive. I’ve had several conversations in the past week about the sad state of the world and the reasons to lament. On the other hand I hear on the news that travel in the United States, especially tomorrow and on the weekend, will set records because of low gas prices and good weather, at least in the Northeast. That means that families will gather in whatever way they can (some just by phone or computer) to celebrate, however they do, the holiday of Christmas. I choose to believe that the love that is shared during this season does have a positive effect on the world.

Expectations vary today, to be sure, as we approach the very day of Christmas. May it be a fulfillment of our longing, a little or a lot, for personal peace, for more light in the world, for reconciliation…all wrapped in recognition of the child who became and continues to become God with us.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of nations and their Savior. Come and save us, O Lord our God!

O Emmanuel, you are God-with-us and the savior of all nations. Come, save us and make of us your own joy to the world.