Antiphons are read before and after the Magnificat
O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the most High, and reach from one end of the earth to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
O Adonai, and leader of the house of Israel, you appeared in the bush to Moses in a flame of fire and gave him the law on Sinai: Come redeem us with an outstretched arm.
"O Radix Jesse"
O Root of Jesse, you stand as an ensign to the peoples; before you kings with shut their mouths, and nations bow in worship; Come and Deliver us, and tarry not.
"O Clavis David"
O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel; you open and no one can shut, you shut and no one can open: Come and bring the captives out of the prison house, those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
O Day-spring, Brightness of the Light Eternal, and Sun of Righteousness: Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
"O Rex Gentium"
O King of the nations, and their Desire, you are the cornerstone who makes us both one: Come and save the creature whom you fashioned from clay.
O Emmmanuel our King and Law-giver, the Desire of all nations and their Salvation: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
I love these so much Lorraine - thank you for posting them.
I have to say I had a sleepless spell last night, where I was kind of grieving the overwhelming masculinity of so much of the conventional imagery of Christmas. I found myself wondering if the modern/secular devotion to Santa Claus - so unambiguously strong and male - rather than the fragility of impoverished virgin mother and newborn is a response to the discomforting sensation of such weak and feminine images. Particularly this disappearance of Advent into the spending spree - a way of redirecting the difficulty of waiting for birth, of actually being present to birth pangs, to the uncomfortable and fearsome aspect of awaiting the Incarnation.
The connection here to the O Antiphons, was that in my restless wakeful prayer, "O Sapientia" came into my mind - linguistically feminine. What a blessing it is to turn to some of the ancient liturgy of the church and find celebration of this feminine aspect of Christ. Thank you.