O Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
I love the readings from Isaiah that we get to hear during Advent: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.” Isaiah 9:1 and “Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.” Isaiah 35:4 are two of my favorites. The symbolism or light and darkness have always been especially meaningful to me, and they are key players in the beautiful season of Advent.
In this O Antiphon we see the image of Christ as the Radiant Dawn, the sun of justice. When I look at our world today, it feels easy to see all the ways that injustice and darkness are “winning”. We live in a culture of exclusion, fear, and death. I know this sounds melodramatic, but it’s really true. Any time I read the news it seems like hate and fear win. But Christ, the Radiant Dawn is coming, and it’s our job to make things ready for him.
This O Antiphon helps me remember to look for the sun of justice. Each year for Christmas, by class adopts a family to buy presents and essentials for. This year, within one day of putting up the list, each of the family members had presents signed up for, and as I write this in November, our class prayer table is beginning to fill up with gifts. They understand that part of justice is sharing from their abundance with those who don’t have enough.
There are so many little ways that light is triumphant over darkness in my daily life, and light is striking and powerful because you need the darkness to see it. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5. The darkness cannot overcome the light. This is the promise of Jesus, the light of the World.
For today: Look for the ways that the sun of justice is shining in your world. Seek out stories of mercy, love, and light. Share the stories you find with others, to help spread the light.