The “short responsory” from Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours for 24 December:
Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be erased.
Tomorrow the Saviour of the world will reign over us.
Some Christians have had the practice of saying “perhaps today!” – referring to the possibility that Christ might return in glory today, and thus encouraging themselves to “live in the light of his coming”.
I wonder, though, if the above responsory takes a more psychologically realistic approach. Because as we all know, “tomorrow never comes” – and certainly many, many Christian generations have passed without that final return of Christ, even if we remain assured that “he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead”. But equally, as the song says (and I apologise in advance for the #earworm): “Tomorrow is only a day away.”
So the church does not say “perhaps today!” – with its risk of becoming a gritted-teeth denial of what one honestly expects – but (definitely, assuredly) “tomorrow!”. That “tomorrow!” may not arrive as quickly as we’d like, but it is always just round the corner. And the literal “tomorrow” of 25 December is a reminder of that greater “tomorrow” that is still waiting for us, always tantalisingly out of reach, but giving us a continuing hope.