Historically, December 18th was an interesting feast day in former times: known in the area of Spain/Portugal as the Feast of Our Lady of the O, it was more officially called the Feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Alas, it is no longer on the Church’s universal liturgical calendar, though perhaps in some places they still have permission to celebrate it locally.
Why Our Lady of the O?
Some people automatically think of the famous “O Antiphons”, which we began chanting or reciting with yesterday’s Vespers. However, the title more likely originates from a different “O custom”, which you can read about in the first article I linked to above.
The peculiarities of the feast’s name aside, it is a beautiful feast, for it helps us to call to mind that in these days leading up to Christmas, Our Lady was “very pregnant” with Our Lord and quite ready to give birth. She carried Him exactly to full term – it was fitting that God incarnate should have a perfect gestation, no more, no less! This, then, is the beginning of the final week of her pregnancy, as she prepares to give birth to the Divine Infant at Christmas.
Lots going on in these days – shopping, cooking, travel, parties, etc. Take some time to meditate on these sacred mysteries as well! It is still Advent!