I normally follow a set devotional series throughout Advent, as I do for Lent. I was feeling bad about myself on Monday. But I had an idea, inspiration, or epiphany if you want to call it that...
Monday night, I was flipping through my personal hymnal - looking at Advent hymns. I stopped at "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" and I was thinking that I really love this hymn. The church where I work uses it as they light each candle on their advent wreath, 1 stanza each week. I was thinking I like it a lot better than the one we're using at the church were I worship. Upon closer inspection, I see written, like a footnote, "One stanza of this paraphrase of the great O Antiphons may be sung on each of the last days of Advent, as follows:" It begins December 17.
I think, "What are the great O Antiphons, and is this something I can use for a devotion?" I can do something for 7 days.
So I've never heard of the O Antiphons - if you are Roman Catholic, then perhaps you have. It's an old series of chants used at the end of Advent, each beginning with "O" followed by a name of God. The hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel is based on this. Here's what I found:
The Great O Antiphons are rich in meaning and nuance. Each antiphon begins with the acclamation "O," addresses Christ by one of His messianic titles from the Old Testament, and ends with a heartfelt plea for His coming. The sequence of the antiphons is theologically precise, progressing from before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of Christ in Bethlehem. The initials of each Latin title -- Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel -- combine to form SARCORE. When this is arranged backwards, it spells ERO CRAS, which means "Tomorrow, I will be." This wonderful coincidence has fascinated Christians since the Middle Ages because Christ seems to answer the pleas of the Great O Antiphons by promising to come to His people on Christmas Eve (December 24), the day after the singing of the final antiphon.
I thought that along with meditations, I would put together a little 4x6 book. I've been thinking about a style/theme - and I've been inspired by the look of Illuminated bibles I've seen. Here is my cover: Advent - O Antiphons Devotion Book Cover
I hope to do one a day: December 17-23.
I'd also like to hear of your Advent traditions, devotions, practices and such. I hope you'll share.