Wednesday, December 17th, 7:00 PM – Advent Service (a meditation on the verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel!
This is probably one of the most familiar hymns we sing during Advent. But did you know that this hymn is centuries old, and that it is based on something called the O Antiphons?
The O Antiphons are mentioned as early as the sixth century A.d., and they had entered common use in liturgical celebrations in Rome by the eighth century. Sometimes called the “Greater Antiphons,” these verses are recited at Vespers, one each evening, between December 17 and December 23. Each antiphon is based on a different title for Jesus taken from the Old Testament— titles like Emmanuel, Key of David, Dayspring, and Wisdom. When gathered together, as they are in this hymn, these titles give voice to the Israelites’ longing for the Messiah, as well as our own longing for Jesus to come—both at Christmas and at the Second Coming.
Ero Cras. Whoever put the O Antiphons together clearly set out to have a little bit of fun. Working backward from December 23 to December 17, the first letter of each Latin title of Jesus spells out a sentence: Ero cras.(Emmanuel, Rex; Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia). In Latin, ero cras means “Tomorrow, I will be”, mirroring the theme of the antiphons.
So come join us, all are welcome!