splendor lucis ætérnæ
et sol iustítiæ:
veni et illúmina sedéntes in ténebris et umbra mortis.
“O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice: come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Yesterday’s antiphon spoke of the people sitting in darkness and shadow and so does today’s, but there is a difference. The light of Christmas is very near. Jesus is nearly here. No longer do we look forward to being led out of our prison: now we look for his light to come and shine into the prison itself, dispelling its darkness.
Isaiah sees this future as a present: “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.”
For five evenings now the Magnificat antiphon at Vespers has been counting down to the birth of Jesus. There are only two evenings left to go.