What follows below is essentially a repeat of something I have posted on this board each year since 2003 (except for 2007 when I was not computer accessible!). I personally feel it is worthwhile to repeat it since it is a nice part of the Catholic tradition (hence its posting in this forum, "CATHOLICISM 101"). Some new folks come on this board each year and it doesn't hurt for previous board members either.
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Starting on December 17 the more-"proximate-preparation-for-Christmas" part of Advent starts. One of the features is that for seven evenings a particular form of antiphon, known as an "O Antiphon", is used with the Magnificat
(Mary's Canticle) in Evening Prayer (Vespers) of the LITURGY OF THE HOURS.
Each one focuses on one of the titles which Christians see as Messianic. They are probably most familiar to people as the individual verses of the hymn "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".
December 17/ O Sapientia:
December 18/ O Adonai:
“O Sacred Lord"
December 19/ O Radix Jesse:
“O Flower of Jesse’s stem"
December 20/ O Clavis David:
“O Key of David"
December 21/ O Oriens:
“O Radiant Dawn"
December 22/ O Rex Gentium:
“O King of all the nations"
December 23/ O Emmanuel:
[For those who wonder why there is no late-Advent "O Antiphon" for December 24: the Christmas liturgical season already starts with Evening Prayer I (First Vespers) of Christmas on the evening of December 24! Advent is over.]
A fairly nice article on these O Antiphons by a Fr. William Saunders and originally published in the Arlington Catholic Herald
is available at:Fr. William Saunders article on the O ANTIPHONS