Christmas Eve

When the church sings "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," we are singing a very old text and tradition. That Advent hymn illuminates each of the seven O Antiphons, which are ancient pieces of the evening vespers liturgy during the end of Advent. For each of the last seven days before Christmas, a different attribute or characteristic of Jesus for whom we wait is highlighted:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Lord)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O God-with-us)

The O Antiphons help us put voice to all of our Advent hopes and dreams, as we watch and wait and pray for Christ to come to us.

Maggie Dawn writes about the hidden message in the O Antiphons - that as we wait for Christ who is all these things, Christ promises us, "Tomorrow, I come!" And this is very good news for us. She goes on to tell us that,
Before you look forward for the answer to prayer, look backwards to the waiting. Somewhere, hidden in your conversation with God, even though it feels like a monologue, there is the whisper of an answer.
Tonight, as we celebrate the light of Christ being born into darkness, we remember that God's whisper of an answer to us is that in Christ is the light and life of all the world. Our whisper of an answer to our prayers is that Christ is come!

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