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This afternoon, it feels slikkery outdoors—well named for its mouse-gray sky emitting misty hiccoughs and leaving droplets: they’re everywhere, if you look for them. They fashion ephemeral designs upon window screens and when engorged, resemble tobogganers careening and zigzagging down mountain trails.

Droplets appear upon tips of denuded shrubs like shy dancers awaiting the cue to go on stage; when swollen with the orchestra’s rhythm they hurtle into the arms of lower branches, until the next letting go, until there is no other.  

Droplets also cling to porch roofs and piggyback others more developed before smacking the pavement below; its pinging jostles the enveloping silence, also slick.

Droplets also cling to holly and red-and-white ribbons that decorate mailboxes, and to outdoor lights that frame the exteriors of houses, giving them a lustrous sheen.

Such slikkery waters depths of dryness like grace: a radical re-wiggling into harmonious change that draws gratitude.

Unto us a child is born

Unto us a son is given …

and authority will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas to you and all you hold dear in your heart.

2021

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,

the hope of the nations and their Savior:

Come and save us, O Lord our God.

On December 23, 2021, the seventh and final O Antiphon climaxes these pleas for deliverance. As if to augment Yahweh’s power even more, previously used Messianic titles are added to Emmanuel, found in Isaiah 7:14.  

Emmanuel, a prophetic name meaning God-with-us, first appeared in the prophecy of Isaiah, 736 BCE, when enemies of the Judean King Ahaz sought to destroy Jerusalem…the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel—A mysterious prophecy that still seizes the imaginations of believers, an intimacy that whispers in all life forms.

Yet, how access this power to waylay enemies, wherever discovered? Evil is real; ancient Israelites as well as ourselves have always needed guidance and protection.  On our own, this is impossible.

Again, the imperatives, Come and save us, conclude this O Antiphon and prepare us for the celebration of the full Christmas mysteries.

Indeed, God is intimately with us—that never changes.

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