As I compiled the COTA Advent Resource list for you last week, I came across the O Antiphons. While I’d heard of them before, I confess I had never paid much attention so I started doing some research. I have a tendency to get a little obsessed when I find something that interests me; if it’s rooted in ancient practice and/or symbolic, double my obsession.
Here’s what the last week of my life has looked like: O Antiphon research. Here’s what the last week of my life has not looked like: household chores.
Most of you are familiar with the O Antiphons even if you’re not: we sing them in the the hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The O Antiphons are sung in Vespers during the last seven days of Advent, and were first referenced in the 6th century. Together, they trace the history of God’s covenant with Israel from Creation to the Incarnation. Each one references an attribute of Christ, as prophesied in Isaiah.
Since COTA doesn’t have the service of Vespers, I’ve written an evening liturgy for individuals and families to use for the last week of Advent incorporating the O Antiphons. The liturgy booklet will answer some questions (Vespers – huh? Antiphons – what?) and also has some reflections I’ve written about each antiphon and how they fit in both the story of Israel and the Church. I pray that the liturgy and reflections will be a blessing to you as you walk into the last week of Advent awaiting the coming of Emmanuel, God with us.
Grace and peace,