Although away from the internet for two days, I have been very present to the O Antiphons. My favorite (except for the last but easily twinned with it) is the fifth, translated variously as “Rising Sun,” “Morning Star” or “Dayspring.” I prefer my own rendition (which I did not invent but heard somewhere along my journey of faith). As I wait today for the light to come, signaling a new day, my heart hopes for the sun to break forth over the mountain across the river. Such a powerful symbol of returning light can awaken me to a new day as nothing else can and so is best described as “Radiant Dawn.”
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness, come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
The sixth antiphon, wherein Christ is called “King of the Nations,” breaks all the definitional laws of how the world sees a ruler. Coming as a helpless baby to a poor family, living as a carpenter’s apprentice and then an itinerant preacher and lover of all certainly topples all notions of kingship. Isaiah describes his reign as follows: He shall judge between the nations and shall arbitrate for many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they train for war again. (IS 2:4) Is this not the king we long for? The one we know to bring us to a new “radiant dawn?”
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: Come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay.
This is the one we call Emmanuel, God with us. I will save consideration of this Great Light until tomorrow when the birthing begins and the promise is ready to be revealed.