Today, as Christmas Eve is one week away, we begin an ancient tradition within the Church. During this evening’s Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours, the first of the “O Antiphons” is prayed (or chanted).
As the USCCB website states (see screen shot above), these have been prayed this week before Christmas since at least the 8th century. Loyola Press offers additional background about this sacred tradition.
Last week, I shared with my students the extensive entry Wikipedia offers on the O Antiphons. We looked at these because we’ve been singing a verse of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” at the start of class each day since Advent began. I showed them how each verse of this beloved Advent carol lines up closely with the O Antiphons.
For example, compare today’s O Antiphon:
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
With this verse of “Emmanuel”
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
I thought this connection was pretty cool when I learned about it a few years back. And I hope this post either reminds you of this connection or perhaps teaches you something new!
Have a blessed final week of Advent. “Soon and very soon we are going to see the King”