Tuesday, December 23, 2014

O Emmanuel - God With Us

On the 23rd of December, the Church prays together the last of the seven traditional O Antiphons composed in the Seventh and Eighth centuries as short, simple reflections on the Old Testament prophetic writings foretelling the coming of Christ.  They are traditionally prayed during final seven days of Advent. In more recent times, the O Antiphons have been sung in a different form in the hymn, Veni, Veni Emmanuel (O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)

The O Antiphons are perfect for a family or community to incorporate into night prayers during those final seven days, December 17-23, and hopefully can be a resource for you and your family in future Advents.

Here is the text of the O Emmanuel antiphon:

LATIN: O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

ENGLISH: O Emmanuel, God with us, our King and lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: come to save us, O Lord our God.

Although the calendar date is passed for this year, Christmas Eve still presents wonderful opportunity to pull away from the commercialized "magic" to reflect on the profoundness of the real meaning of Christmas, as the first phrase of O Emmanuel expresses, God with us.

On this eve, the power of the incarnation comes to its full fruition, as Mary bears God himself to the world.  Stop and take a few minutes today (and tomorrow too) to think about that...


Yep, the God of creation, of all things visible and invisible, is here.  Not in some symbolic, ethereal way, but real, 100% in the flesh, pouring all of his divinity into all of our humanity.  Since we were (and still are) powerless to fix our own broken, pitiful state, he has come as one of us (not like one of us...as one of us) to fix it himself for eternity and to offer us our share in the work in time.

I'll leave it at that for now.  Just take a few minutes today, wherever and however you can find a quiet moment, to think about the significance of what happened in that stable in Bethlehem so many years ago.


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