From at least the eighth century the antiphon before and after the Magnificat at Vespers (Evening Prayer), for the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, has greeted Christ with a title starting with “O”. These became the basis of the popular carol “O come, O come, Emmanuel”. The initials, when read backwards, form the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I come.”
They are now also used, in shorted form, in the Alleluia verses before the days’ Gospel readings.
Each day an O Antiphon could be used for prayer and reflection. These could form the basis of an Advent service with readings, music, and singing. Or of art, banners, or other ways of enhancing the worship environme symbolically. The carol “O come, O come, Emmanuel” and the Magnificat could form significant features in this.
O wisdom, coming forth from the Most High, filling all creation and reigning to the ends of the earth; come and teach us the way of truth.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
Ecclesiasticus 24.3-9 Proverbs 1:20; 8; 9 and 1 Corinthians 1:30
O come, thou wisdom from on high
Who madest all in earth and sky,
Creating us from dust and clay:
To us reveal salvation’s way.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
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