The ‘O’ Antiphons

Everyone knows the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”  Not everyone knows that it has its roots in an older tradition called the ‘O’ Antiphons, which were used at Vespers (the late afternoon/early evening prayer office) from December 17 until December 23.  In the Lutheran Service Book, they are printed on the opposite page from the hymn.  Here’s a good explanation of them.






December 17

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things:
          Come and teach us the way of prudence.

And from the hymn: “O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,/Who ord’rest all things mightily;/To us the path of knowledge show,/And teach us in her ways to go” (LSB 357:2).

Rejoice!  Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Pr. Timothy Winterstein




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