The O Antiphons

My favourite Advent hymn (it’s not really a carol) is O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

The meditative singing of the beautiful lyrics, for me at least, captures the atmosphere of patient waiting for the grace of Christ’s birth.

But what many people don’t realise is how ancient and deeply liturgical this hymn is.

The words are taken directly from the Churches liturgy. Each verse is one of the antiphons which are proclaimed at Daily Mass (in the alleluia verse before the gospel) and recited during Evening Prayer (as the Magnificat antiphon).

They are wonderful texts for us to pray with during these closing days of Advent. Each day the O Antiphons intensify our anticipation, and help prepare us spiritually for the new-born king, Jesus.

Contemplating each antiphon individually or singing just one verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel each day allows us to ponder, like Mary, the meaning of the glory of God becoming one of us and making his dwelling among us.

The king has come, and his kingdom is his presence in the world, manifested in the ordinary actions of every Christian.  With every prayer, work, joy and suffering, the kingdom comes. That is how we live between the first coming of Christ and the second. We live with an expectation, confidence, and joy that we magnify as a Church every Advent.

God bless you as we continue to await the coming of the Child of Bethlehem.

December 17
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: Come to teach us the path of knowledge!

December 18
O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: Come to rescue us with your mighty power!

December 19
O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: Come to save us without delay!

December 20
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: Come and free the prisoners of darkness.

December 21
O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: Come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 22
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: Come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!

December 23
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: Come to save us, Lord our God!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s