The Great “O” Antiphons – An Advent Meditation
by The Rev. David Angelica
During Advent, we focus our lives, our worship and our thoughts on the Coming of the Christ-Child, that our hearts and homes might be ready when He appears. As part of the Advent observance, our Christian heritage and history have given us many beautiful traditions to help us prepare for the Advent, the Coming, of Christ. We lift our voices in prayerful song as we sing the familiar Hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel .

In the verses of this Advent hymn, we proclaim in song the special names that Christ was called to describe the fact that He was God. There are seven Biblical prophetic names for Christ, collectively known as, the Great “O” Antiphons, and are Scriptural witnesses to the fact that Christ was the very Savior of the world, the Wonderful, Counselor and the Prince of Peace, for Whom the world was waiting.

Let us look at these Biblical prophecies and use them as part of our spiritual discipline this Advent season, praying to God that His salvation will fill our hearts, souls and lives when Christmas comes. And when you do have some time, look over the hymn in the hymnal (#56) and meditate on its words.
O Wisdom, which comes out of the mouth of the Most High, and reaches from one end to another, mightily and sweetly ordering all things, come teach us the way of prudence.
Reflection: Lord, help us to use prudence in our lives, to prevent the wasting of our earth. Preserve our creation, our deteriorating environment. Help us to care for what you have given us and use our sense of prudence to make it persevere.
O Lord, Leader of the House of Israel, who appeared in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire, and gave him the Law in Sinai, come and deliver us with an outstretched arm.
Reflection: Jesus, protect us from the desolation of war and terror. Help us to realize that in our lifetime, we can really kill better than we can save lives. Save us from another Pearl Harbor, or Viet-Nam or Iraq or Afghanistan or Paris or Newtown, from the fear in our own neighborhoods of Delray Beach. Save us from terrorists who maim and destroy, who fill the air with their bullets, bombs and blackened skies. Save our children; save our nation; save the world; save us from the day when it will really hit home.
O Root of Jesse, You are a Sign for all humankind; before Thee kings shall keep silence, and to Thee all nations shall give reverence. Come, save us, and do not delay.
Reflection: God, help us to think about inflation, and the crisis in energy, and the shortage of food. Help us to curb all of this in the world by reaching out to others in mission in Your name. Help us make intelligent decisions about those weapons we use, about our quest to be masters and always to be in control, not only of our planet but of others and of other nations and peoples as well. Help us to prepare ourselves for that day when all kings and all nations will keep silence, because You will have come again in glory and judgment, and the dignity of every human being will be restored.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the House of Israel, that opens, and no one shuts, and shuts, and no one opens, come and bring the prisoner out of the prison-house, and they that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
Reflection: Jesus, help us to look at our prisons; help us to repair their sub-human conditions, but also to use them to help heal and restore those people who have sinned against You. Guide us, Lord, to treat those who have gone astray with love and compassion, that they may be made whole, and their repentance accomplished according to Your Word. Help us to lift this shadow of death as the new year begins.
O Day-Spring, Brightness of Light everlasting, and Sun of Righteousness, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
Reflection: We pray this Advert that the darkness of those afflicted with life-challenging sicknesses and infirmities, with the diseases and addictions of alcoholism and drugs might be lifted, that healing will come to them and restore their broken lives. We pray that those who are alone might find companionship; those who feel useless might be used by Your spirit; those who have lost Your light might be enkindled once again with Your presence.
O King of the Nations, and their Desire, the Cornerstone, who makes both one, who makes us one, our Salvation, come and save humankind whom Thou hast formed of clay.
Reflection: We ask You, Lord, during this Advent Season, to lift us from those times when we are depressed. Save those from despair, from the depths of suicide, from wanton murder, theft and senseless self-destructive behavior. Help us to mend broken marriages and relationships with continual love; help us to repair torn hearts and renew our sensitivity toward our neighbor. Lord, You have formed us of clay, and we ask You now to restore us and make us whole once again in Your image.
O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Expected of Nations and their Savior, come and save us, O Lord our God.
Reflection: Lord Christ, we love You; help us to love others in Your Name. In You we know that we can have all things good: a clean earth to live on; peace from war; tranquillity; brightness from the vale of death that enshrouds us; freedom from sickness; and ultimately, we can have wholeness and strength. Help us to prepare for Your Advent, for Your coming. Come and ransom captive Israel, our hearts; be present in our living, in our loving, and become incarnate in us – that we may dwell in You, now and for ever. Amen.
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