These immediate days before Christmas are not just a preparation for commemorating the historical event of Christ’s birth. It is a time to search into our hearts and make of them a fitting manger to receive the King of Kings. This Christmas, as in every Christmas, we celebrate Christ’s abiding presence with us and within us.
The so-called “O Antiphons” reproduced below will enable us to reflect on him who is to come and now seeks a room in the inn of our heart.
O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly. Come, and teach us the way of prudence.
O Adonai (Lord) and Ruler of the House of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and on Mount Sinai gave him your law. Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.
O Root of Jesse, you stand as a sign for the peoples; before you kings shall keep silence and to you all nations shall have recourse. Come, save us, and do not delay.
O Key of David and Sceptre of the House of Israel; you open and no man closes; you close and no man opens. Come, and deliver from the chains of prison those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O Rising Dawn, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O King of the Gentiles and the Desired of all, you are the cornerstone that binds two into one. Come, and save man whom you fashioned out of clay.
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of the nations and their
Saviour. Come and save us, O Lord our God.
And possibly on the 24th (although this is not one of the O Antiphons)
O Virgin of virgins, how shall this be? For neither before thee was any like thee, nor shall there be after. Daughters of Jerusalem, why marvel ye at me? The thing which ye behold is a divine mystery.