I have always loved “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” but never knew until recently that it is based on the seven “O Antiphons” that have been sung for many centuries before and after the Magnificat at Vespers for seven days leading up to Christmas (Dec 17-23).
Each of the brief antiphons starts with “O” and a name of Christ – a Messianic title drawn from the Old Testament. Read backwards, the initials of the Latin titles form the words Cras ero or “Tomorrow I shall be (with you)”.
O Sapientia (Wisdom)
O Adonai (Holy Lord)
O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
O Clavis David (Key of David)
O Oriens (Dayspring or Morning Star)
O Rex Gentium (King of the Nations)
O Emmanuel (God with us)
My friend and colleague Thomas Smith has put together a wonderful series of reflections on the O Antiphons. They start today with an introduction: