December 17th is a significant date in the Catholic preparation for Christmas.
On this day we begin to address a different title each day to the Child whose birth we celebrate on Christmas Day. These titles are taken from the prophets who used them to refer to the Promised One whose coming they foretold but did not fully understand.
The series begins with Evening Prayer on December 17th, and it continues each evening through December 23rd. The antiphon introduces the praying or chanting of the canticle “Magnficat”.
Today’s antiphon is “O Sapientia”, which means Wisdom, and is found in the prophet Isaiah where he refers to the Promised One: “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him; the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding; the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude; the spirit of knowledge, of piety and of fear of the Lord”. (Isaiah 11, 2-3)
There is a different title or attribute each day for the Promised One, so that as our time of waiting grows shorter we will have an increasing appreciation of him whom we await while the day of his manifestation draws nearer.