The Advent tradition of the O Antiphons used in liturgical worship through prayer and song starts December 17 and continues through December 23. 

Each of the seven O Antiphons focuses on a prophetic title of Jesus. May this lead us to gaze afresh on Him.  

To consider these titles is an Advent tradition I’ve adopted: to ponder Jesus in light of these seven titles. It has stood as a tradition across church history. 

“Keep your O” became a short catch phrase to remind folks to mull over these various titles, leaning into particular characteristics of Christ as Christmas approached. 

In Latin, the seven titles create a reverse acrostic. When each beginning letter is joined from last to first, it reads “Ero Cras,” which translates “Tomorrow I come.” This reminds us of what Advent is leading up to: The Coming of Christ. 

For those among us not versed in Latin, the English translations are:

  • O Sapientia = O Wisdom
  • O Adonai = O Lord of Israel
  • O Radix Jesse = O Root of Jesse
  • Clavis David = O Key of David
  • O Oriens = O Dayspring
  • O Rex Gentium = O King of the Gentiles
  • O Emmanuel = O God with us

The hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” contains all the titles in its stanzas. I’ve included a few links for you to enjoy hearing several renditions of it.

Take time to ponder, pray, and write about your response to the prophetic titles of Jesus. How do they stir your soul?

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