O Come - O Come...

Last year in the run up to Christmas, Maggi Dawn published a series of posts on the so-called "O Antiphons" and in her introduction she said:
"The “O Antiphons” are seven short songs, one of which is said or sung each evening for seven nights before Christmas Eve – the last “octave” or seven days of Advent, 17-23 December. (There are some other traditions in which extra antiphons are inserted – for instance, the Sarum liturgy has eight, and another has twelve). By ancient tradition, the Antiphon for the day was sung before the Magnificat at Vespers, the evening office, and in the Anglican tradition the antiphons are used in Evening Prayer. They weren’t in the Book of Common Prayer, but you can find them in the English Hymnal, and in Common Worship.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the Antiphons, you probably know the song O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel in Latin), which condenses all the antiphons into one Advent hymn.
They are called the “O” Antiphons simply because each one begins with the word “O…” followed by one of the traditional Messianic names drawn from the book of the prophet Isaiah...
The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is uncertain. They were referred to as early as the 6th century by Christian philosopher Boethius, and were in use in the liturgies of Rome by the 8th century. But it’s evidence of their wide usage in the monastic tradition that suggests they originated in the early centuries of the Christian tradition."
I didn't know any of that. So who says that the internet is a useless, time-wasting tool!?

So, following that ancient tradition I thought that I would reflect on the 7 verses of that hymn as we enter into the final days of Advent and the run up to (or stagger towards) Christmas... "Seven verses?" say you... "I've only ever sung 5!" Well, stick with this series and you too might learn something new... In the meantime, here is a modern instrumental version of this beautiful advent carol, by Casting Crowns, with images taken from the film "The Nativity."



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