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Today starts the last week before Christmas and in addition to the shopping frenzy and the excitement of those waiting for the visit of Santa Claus, Christian ritual has its own traditional countdown known as the O Antiphons. On each day both in the gospel acclamation at Mass (the “Alleluia verse”) and at evening prayer (Vespers) there is a call to Christ to “Come!” Each day uses a different symbolic title for Jesus and pleads with God in a different way to bless and save us through the agency of Jesus. These are ancient verses, beautiful and worthy of reflection as we wait. Today we begin.

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence!