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In the spirit of not reinventing the wheel reblogging on the O Antiphons.

Originally posted on Cooking for Jesus: Celebrating the Christian Year:

Perhaps the best known Advent hymn is “O Come, o Come, Emmanuel.” What you may not know is that it is not 1 hymn but 7  as it is the compilation of what are known as the “O Antiphons”.

A bit of musical terminology first. An antiphon is a response (The Greek means “other voice”) usually to a psalm reading. Think of it this way: instead of quoting a bit of scripture and saying ‘Can I have an Amen?!” You’re reading a bit of scripture and saying “Can I have a ANtiphon?!

In the last week of Advent that response–typically not a psalm but to the Magnificat when sung during the evening service of vespers–comes in the form of the “O Antiphons”, so termed because each of these response prayers begins with “O”. There are 7  O Antiphons (8 in the English Sarum Cycle ), and they each…

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1. O Savior, rend the heavens wide;
Come down, come down with mighty stride;
Unlock the gates, the doors break down;
Unbar the way to heaven’s crown.

2. O Father, light from heaven send;
As morning dew, O Son, descend.
Drop down, you clouds, the life of spring:
To Jacob’s line rain down the King.

3. O earth, in flow’ring bud be seen;
Clothe hill and dale in garb of green.
Bring forth, O earth, a blossom rare,
Our Savior, sprung from meadow fair.

4. O Fount of hope, how long, how long?
When will You come with comfort strong?
O come, O come, Your throne forego;
Console us in our vale of woe.

5. O Morning Star, O radiant Sun,
When will our hearts behold Your dawn?
O Sun, arise; without Your light
We grope in gloom and dark of night.

6. Sin’s dreadful doom before us lies;
Grim death looms fierce before our eyes.
O come, lead us with mighty hand
From exile to our promised land.

7. There shall we all our praises bring
And sing to You, our Savior King;
There shall we laud You and adore
Forever and forevermore.

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On the Second Sunday in Advent; the time tuns from the end times, the second coming of Christ, to his first coming: the coming of Jesus into the world. From the choir of my favorite cathedral comes one of my favorite Advent hymns, which is–in my world-always sung on the second Sunday in Advent: “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry”.

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Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers

By: Laurentius Laurentii, 1660-1722
Rejoice, rejoice, believers, And let your lights appear;
The evening is advancing, And darker night is near.
The bridegroom is arising And soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle; At midnight comes the cry.

The watchers on the mountain Proclaim the bridegroom near;
Go forth as He approaches With alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting; The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory; The bridegroom is at hand.

The saints, who here in patience Their cross and sufferings bore,
Shall live and reign forever When sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory The Lamb they shall behold;
In triumph cast before Him Their diadems of gold.

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for, Over this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted, We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption That sets Your people free!

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Yes indeed, it is again the Feast of St. Nicholas, one of my favorite lesser festivals, which I generally celebrate by getting up ridiculously early, having long wittering Prussian conversations with myself about gift distribution , and shoot (or crawl as the case sometimes is) about the Metro area with cookies and toys to drop on (not so) random doorsteps (and windshields).  I also break Advent and listen to Christmas music.  And eat chocolate…. And meat.  So there.

Other people seem to enjoy it as well. (For more on Nicholas check out the previous posting.)

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“Are the coins real or chocolate?” asked the youth. “Chocolate,” said his mother. “Oh, ” he said thoughtfully, “Well, that’s cool too.”

Shoes are fascinating!





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