With the arrival of December 17, Advent took a turn towards home. To paraphrase the words I love to hear whenever I'm on a plane, "Folks, we have begun our initial descent into Christmas".
The Church's liturgy shows it a few ways:
- For the rest of Advent, the readings are proper to the date (Dec. 17, etc.) compared to before when it was generic (Tuesday of the 3rd week).
- The Mass propers at Mass also get date specific (see above).
- The Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer changes from Advent I ("When he humbled himself to come among us as a man... Now we watch for the day...") to Advent II ("The Virgin mother bore him in her womb with love beyond all telling. John the Baptist was his herald...").
- The classic difference (and your parish gets extra credit if they do it, and you get extra credit if your parish does it AND you go to it!) is that, at the recitation of Vespers (the Church's evening prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours), each day of the Late Days of Advent has an antiphon before the Magnificat ("My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord...") that begins with an "O" and a messianic title of Jesus. You can read an article that It's explains it well by clicking here.
If you're a daily Mass-goer, did anything happen at Mass this morning that differed from the day before? I'm just wondering if anything was done at your parish to make you aware that we've hit the "late days" of Advent (plus, I'm always looking for good ideas to steal).