Tuesday, December 13, 2016

O, What-The-Fonz? The O Antiphons!

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I was introduced to the O Antiphons back when I was in the seminary. Something about them grabbed me. It was like I was holding a treasure, a piece of the depth and history of the Church, in my hands.

The O Antiphons date back at least 1200-1500 years. We use them in Evening Prayer (AKA Vespers) for a week leading up to Christmas. Each one is a poetic verse, reflecting on a title of Jesus coming from the bible. I find they help me to dig a little deeper, each year, as I prepare for Christmas.

And you’re probably somewhat familiar with them already. They’re also the source for the hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. (I’m not usually fond of Christmas-related music, because I’m a Grinch, but I’ve always loved this one.)

  • December 17: O Wisdom
  • December 18: O Adonai (Lord)
  • December 19: O Root of Jesse
  • December 20: O Key of David
  • December 21: O Dayspring
  • December 22: O King of the nations
  • December 23: O Emmanuel (God with us)

O Emmanuel… Come and save us, Lord, our God.

(For the complete verses, check out the “O Antiphons” article on Wikipedia. Good ol’ Wiki.)

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