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16 December 2014
  Come, Lord Jesus: The O Antiphons
Our Final Christmas Countdown

God with Us - Immanuel We count down the final days of Advent using the traditional monastic antiphons to the Magnificat. Most of English speaking Christendom knows these antiphons through their versification, Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel. Beginning in eternity, the antiphons follow a rough chronology through history until the coming of Immanuel, Hebrew for "God [is] with Us" (see Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)

Thus, the first stanza that we normally sing of the hymn is actually the last of the antiphons, sung on 23 December. By Vespers on the 24th, it's time to remove the final vestiges of Advent and enter into Christmas.

O Antiphons The order itself, whether by design or coincidence, forms a Latin reverse acrostic. The initial address for the coming Savior in each antiphon is as follows: Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel. Taking each title's first letter and writing the result backwards yields "ero cras"; normally this is rendered, "I shall be [with you] tomorrow." Thus our Lord promises to return for us and so He leads us to pledge to join together in His worship while still on earth.

Through the next week, I'll post each day's antiphon in Latin, its translation from Lutheran Service Book, the Latin hymn verse, and the corresponding hymn stanza of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel from LSB. If you don't want to wait for each day's antiphon, I've linked to each individually from December 2007.

Posts in the Series:

O Sapientia — O Wisdom
O Adonai — O Lord and Ruler
O Radix Jesse — O Root of Jesse
O Clavis David — O Key of David
O Oriens — O Dayspring
O Rex Gentium — O King of the Nations
O Emmanuel — O God with Us

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