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Dec 20, 2018

‘O Dawn!’ – Fifth Day of the O Antiphon Series

Thomas Smith

In this post, Thomas Smith reflects upon the O Antiphon “O Dawn” from the December 21 daily Mass. You can find his other reflections on the O Anthiphons leading up to Christmas here.


(This can also be sung to the melody “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”)

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel!


As we enter back into Isaiah’s Book of Emmanuel, we hear that in the future, the Lord will send a great light into northern Israel (Isaiah 9:1-2). Have you ever wondered why Jesus began his public ministry in the northern region of Galilee and not in Jerusalem? It’s not accidental that Christ first brings his light to the place his people originally descended into darkness in salvation history (the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 BC). Matthew confirms this connection (Matthew 4:13-16). John’s father Zechariah represents the longing of his people for this coming light. In his Benedictus he looks with expectation for “when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Imagine the growing joy that Mary and Joseph must have had as they neared the time that this Light would shine forth.

This is only where the light begins. Like the expanding dawn, Christ will declare:

“I am the light of the whole world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12; see also John 12:46).

On Easter morning, Christ will rise in the light of the Resurrection, banishing the darkness of death that had enveloped the world.


While in Galilee, Christ goes beyond simply proclaiming himself the light and says to his followers “YOU are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). Once we receive the light of faith, we extend its reach into our circles of influence. Pope Francis puts it well, “Each of us comes to the light because of love, and each of us is called to love in order to remain in the light” (Lumen Fidei 32).

Consider some simple ways you can show the light of Christ’s love to strangers and family alike this season. It can be something as simple as creating a blessing bag filled with toiletries and warm gloves you can share with a homeless person or the gift of a candle to remind someone of Christ’s light. Most importantly, it’s when we share our faith that Christ’s light shines most brightly for others.


As you sit quietly before the Lord, use your imagination to feel the Light of Christ wash over your heart and soul. Let it penetrate the dark corners of your heart and those places in your soul you haven’t welcomed the healing light of Christ.


Tomorrow, December 22, we will reflect on the next O Antiphon, O King of the Nations. Make sure you return to the Ascension Blog tomorrow if you want to read the reflection on the proper day.

The reflection for the previous title in the O Antiphon Series, O Key of David, can be found here.

This post was first published on The Great Adventure Blog on December 21, 2013 and modified on December 14, 2018.

You May Also Like:

The O Antiphons Explained: A Daily Series Leading to Christmas

‘O Key of David!’ – Fourth Day of the O Antiphon Series

Rejoice: Advent Meditations with Mary

About Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is the co-author of Wisdom: God’s Vision for Life,  Revelation: The Kingdom Yet to Come and The Prophets: Messengers of God’s Mercy. He is an international presenter for The Great Adventure Bible Timeline. Bringing a wealth of experience and insight on the Word of God to audiences across the U.S., Thomas is a repeat guest on EWTN and Catholic radio as well as a sought after parish mission and conference speaker. Thomas Smith has taught as an adjunct professor at the St. Francis School of Theology in Denver, and is the former Director of the Denver Catholic Biblical School and the Denver Catechetical School. He lives on his family ranch in southeastern Idaho and writes for his website

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  • Flowers open their petals to the morning sun, birds begin to sing a melodious song, stirrings of all sorts begin with the sunrise. God so graciously gave His Son to us as a beacon of light to guide us to our final destination. As we share the warmth of sunlight with others, I can see an unspoken sharing of God’s love can move mountains. Perhaps a simple deed will bring the recipient closer to the Almighty. My soul leaps for joy to think that I could be a small part of that special feat!
    I know I have some ‘dark corners’ that need attention as you mentioned during the rest period. I need to tend to my soul’s ‘garden now.

    • Yes, we never know how simple gestures of love impact others . We need to be brave, when God is nudging our heart, follow his will. Merry Christmas , your comments are very good!

      • Thanks, Jody. I so thoroughly enjoy reading yours and other comments. I really wish there were more participants with these discussions. Sometimes the best training tool is reading and listening to the reflections of others. Have a glorious and blessed Christmas.

        • I agree, pnkyB4brain, it would have been wonderful to have
          had more dialogue on all this wonderful material. I have a feeling that many of us have been overwhelmed by the secular preparations for Christmas which left little time for these discussions.

          I think the main thing is that we have made time for remembering Christ during this Advent season. Amidst the decorating, baking, shopping lists (and shopping lines!), did
          we take time to stop and rest, to absorb Thomas’s suggestions, and act on them? Did we become more like Christ to others in our lives?

          Perhaps we can have a post-Advent discussion during the “quiet and uneventful” months that follow to expand on what we have learned and how we
          are implementing it in our lives.

          It’s almost Christmas… Rejoice!

  • Reading your comments today enlighten my heart and soul…I love to hear Our Lord and Savior and His Holy Mother blessed and praised. What a glorious day it would be if the whole were in their own way, however that may be, were giving and honoring God. I know that though my family does practice faith, but rather, does so in a very secular way…I have come to realize that in an indirect way they ARE giving God praise…For He initiated the REASON for the SEASON!! So anyone, no matter how they do it, who takes time to celebrate the season-even if it be in a “little way” is keeping Christmas in their heart…For whether we acknowledge it or not, God resides in the hearts of all humankind…for He created us all. So since I believe in a most powerful, awesome, and mighty God…even if consciously the person turns away from God publicly…God, in that person subconsciously will see that Holy Days will be celebrated. For I believe that when it comes to God: Where there is HIS WILL (with Him); there will BE A WAY (His Way)…and He will make it happen…sometimes by “hook” (fishing), rather than by “crook” (Shepardiing)!!

    Reading 2 rom 16:25-27

    Brothers and sisters:
    To him who can strengthen you,
    according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ,
    according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
    but now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
    according to the command of the eternal God,
    made known to all nations to bring about the obedience of faith,
    to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ
    be glory forever and ever. Amen.

    God is good…All the time!! Alleluia!! Have a great day!! Keep smiling! 🙂

  • How appropriate it is that this reflection on light, I have Seasonal Adjustment Disfunction. Today my spirits hit rock bottom but tomorrow the sun will set one minute later. Just the thought of one minute more of helps me through this day. Although we still have the bleak months of January and February go, I have hope that spring will come and with it a Glorious Easter.

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