Advent has two parts, and its second half begins today. During these last eight days the Church’s Evening Prayer has a nightly O Antiphon. The O antiphons are chronological with the oldest Messianic title of Wisdom, representing the Holy Spirit at the creation of the world. We climb through history: Leader, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King, Emmanuel. (By the way, the first letter of each of these titles in Latin spells “Ero Cras,” which means “Tomorrow I will come.”)
Monasteries produced elaborate hymnody to sing the O Antiphons. The monks also had a tradition of enjoying special treats on each of these eight days. On the day on which they sang of Root of Jesse, for example, they had peanuts, a root food. The cook served oranges on the day remembering the Rising Sun or Radiant Dawn. My favorite is the Key of David, when the monk in charge of the wine cellar served the finest wine. Why not follow the monks’ joyous tradition? Make each day to Christmas special as the O-O-O prepares the way for the Ho-Ho-Ho?