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O Emmanuel – December 23

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, hope of the nations and their saviour: come and save us, O Lord our God.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

O Emmanuel,
Rex et legifer noster,
expectatio gentium,
et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domine, Deus noster.

Isaiah 7:14; 8:8; Matthew 1:23; Haggai 2:7

O come, o come, Emmanuel!
Redeem thy captive Israel,
that into exile drear is gone
far from the face of God’s dear Son.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

O Antiphons reflection 1
O Antiphons reflection 2
Visual reflection on these beautiful prayers from New Mellleray abbey in Iowa

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 environment symbolically. The carol “O come, O come, Emmanuel” and the Magnificat could form significant features in this.

This is a repost.

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5 thoughts on “O Emmanuel – December 23”

  1. Bosco, have you come across ‘A Social Network Nativity’ by IgniterMedia.com – available on youtube – like the ‘Digital Nstivity’ with its own humor, and its incorporates ‘O come O Come’.

    In the immortal words of Steeleye Span:

    Gaudete gaudete
    Christus natus est
    Ex Mariae virginae

    1. Thanks, Kevin, yes I have – there’s a few such videos that I will be posting here in the period after Christmas Day. But it’s always good to get these pointers – better more than once than not at all. & yes: another Steeleye Span fan!. [But you have the lyrics a bit skew – check here]

  2. Yes, and I should have written ‘Ex Maria Virgine’;
    but I cannot bring myself to write “Gau-day-tay Gau-day-tay” in the strange accent of the male singers: to my ears it sounds like a hybrid of Kiwi and Yorkshire!

    And why not, I hear someone ask, since both nations think of themselves as God’s Own Country!

    Happy Christmas to you.

  3. I think the words to that song are pretty interesting. How can Jesus forgive us for sins that we did to other people? That would be like me saying: “yes I forgive you for stealing your friends bike.” Maybe Emmanuel means more than Jesus, maybe it refers to all who make the decision to forgive?

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