If you were at Mass today, you might have noticed that Advent has shifted a gear.

Until yesterday, Advent was “counting up” from the First Sunday of Advent. As of today, Advent is “counting down” to that holy night in Bethlehem. The next seven days are distinctive for the ancient “O antiphons” which the Church chants at Evening Prayer.

Whether or not you pray the Divine Office, I recommend praying with these antiphons in the countdown to Christmas. To facilitate this, Ascension Press are publishing a ten-minute study each day until Christmas. You can browse it online, or print out a copy and sit with it before the tabernacle.

Here’s a preview:

The journey of the Holy Family from Nazareth to Bethlehem was an 80 mile route. Most healthy people could make the trip in four days of vigorous walking, but for a young mother in her final days of pregnancy, most believe the trek would have been about a week. Since the antiphons are the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, they are the perfect “songs for the road.” When we pray them, we join the Holy Family on their journey.

And here’s the link.