O Emmanuel

As Christmas is fast approaching, the Church prepares with more eagerness for the festivities we have around the corner. Those who follow the daily readings or take a look at the Roman Missal (the book which contains the texts and rubrics of the Mass), may notice that starting on the 17th of December, the Liturgy has its own proper readings and its own proper prayers for Mass. 

December 17th marks the beginning of this intense time of expectation for the birth of Jesus. The Liturgy of the Hours has the so-called “O” antiphons, which precede the Magnificat during Evening Prayer. It is an ancient part of our Liturgy that goes back at least to the 4th century of the Church. Each of the antiphons addresses Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles. These Messianic titles are based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ (1. Adam: Rm 5:12-21, 1 Cor 15:22-45; 2. Moses: Acts 3:22, Hb 3:1-5; 3. The Passover Lamb: 1 Cor 5:7, Jn 1:29, 1 Pt 1:19-20; 5. The bronze serpent: Jn 3:14; 5. Jonah: Matthew 12:39-41; 6. High priest: Hb 2:17; 4:15–16; 5:10; 7. Melchizedek: Hb 7:1-3; 15-17, Hb 6:20). Prior to Christmas, the Church recalls the variety of the ills of humanity before the coming of the Redeemer, and sees in Christ a remedy, the one who restores everything to God. 

The Seven Messianic titles are contained in the “O” antiphons are: O Sapientia (O Wisdom); O Adonai (O Sacred Lord); O Radix Jesse (O Flower of Jesse’s stem); O Clavis David (O Key of David); O Oriens (O Radiant Dawn); O Rex Gentium (O King of all the nations); O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel). 

The Lord is the fulfillment of the promises of old. He is the Anointed One who has come to bring good news to the fallen human race. Christ is the summit of humanity, therefore, it is in Him in whom we find hope and the remedy to all human ailments. 

With faith in the Lord, with a longing heart, live purposefully these days towards the birth of Jesus, knowing that He is indeed Emmanuel – God is with us.