O Oriens

December 21

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


Today is the shortest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. That is to say, the day is still twenty-four hours long, but we have the least daylight of the year today. What a day it is, then, to meditate on our Lord as the bringer of light and dawn. Today, as we spend more hours in the darkness than any other day of the year, the shadow of death feels more real. Many people, like me, suffer from depression in the winter months because of the lack of light. I wake up, pray, eat breakfast, and arrive at my office in the dark. By the time I’m finished making dinner, it is dark again. In the winter, I feel that I am one of those who dwell in darkness.

The truth, though, is that Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. He will bring me through death to life just as surely as He will bring me through winter to spring. Even though I am physically in the darkness, the Radiant Dawn always shines on my spirit.

An unusual wordplay is in this Antiphon in English, as well. Only in English do we have the sun/Son homophone that makes that glowing orb remind us of the Lord. The physical light that He sends us should remind us of His love and spiritual light, even if we don’t speak English. I believe that God has made the world to show us Himself.

One thought on “O Oriens

  1. Pingback: The O Antiphons « Knowledge Hungry

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