Advent Antiphons

Beginning tomorrow I will begin posting the Advent Antiphons, one a day until Christmas Eve. The antiphons, originally composed in the 13th century, are probably familiar to you through the words of the carol “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”

William Marshall, whose small Advent devotional I highly recommend, comments:

The Advent antiphons use words mainly from the Old Testament to refer to the coming of Christ. Hence they are chiefly about his first coming as a man to earth, the Christmas theme. They look ahead to his coming in terms of longing for the Messiah. In the days before Christmas, it is helpful to try and enter the thoughts and expectations of devout Jews waiting for the Messiah, liked the aged Simeon and the eighty year old Anna, who were ‘looking for the consolation of Israel’ (Lk 2:25) Yet the antiphons need not be taken exclusively in connection with Christ’s birth on earth. They are very much a cry for Christ’s coming into the turmoil of modern life, ‘Come and teach us’, ‘Come and deliver us’, ‘Enlighten him that sitteth in darkness’, and they reach out to his final and glorious appearing, ‘Tarry not’, ‘Come and save mankind.’

Additionally, I would draw your attention to the great series of posts at IntheAgora.com on the feast days of several saints: St. Nicholas, St. Ambrose, Pope St. Damascus I, and St. John of the Cross. Great reading!

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