Dec 15, 2022

Consider This…O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The Roman Church has been singing the “O” Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative “Come!” embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.


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,

splendor 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!


—From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers

 The “O Antiphons” from above used in the Church’s liturgy at this time of the year are brought together so well in the great Advent Hymn, “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”  Perhaps each day this week, as a sort of final preparation for Christmas, think and pray over how Jesus’ coming can bring the fulfillment of these hopes for your life. 


~Fr. Luke

 PS.  We ask Jesus, who is Emmanuel, God-with-us, to come to us, but often God comes in ways we do not expect or even like.  That first Christmas, Jesus did not come in glory and power but in the fragility of a child and as a stranger in the cold because there was no room for him.  We cannot welcome Christ if we do not recognize his presence among us.  You know where I am going with this and that I don’t need to remind you: however justified you may be tempted to feel, please make room at the inn of St. Mary’s for those who come to celebrate with us at this time of the year who indeed bear within their coming the presence of Christ.