"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us" (Matthew 1:23).
On Dec. 17, the last phase of our family preparation for Christmas begins with the O Antiphons. These ancient liturgical verses help us to easily focus our family Advent prayer for the seven evenings leading up to Christmas Eve.
Each prayer highlights a different title for the Messiah, and Isaiah’s prophecy of his coming. Our family meditates on the poetic language of each O Antiphon as we use them in our nightly Advent prayer during the final week before Christmas.
O Wisdom, holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.
O Lord of ancient Israel, you showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush; you gave us the holy law on Sinai Mountain. Come; stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.
O Root of Jesse, you have been raised up as a sign for all people; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come; let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
O Key of David, royal power of Israel, you control at your will the gate of heaven. Come; break down the prison walls of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come; shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; keystone of the mighty arch of humanity: Come and save the creatures you fashioned from the dust.
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, savior of all people: Come and set us free, Lord our God.