Celebrating the O Antiphons ~ Our plans for this year!

by | Dec 2, 2009 | Advent and Christmas, Liturgical Year, O Antiphons | 12 comments

There is an old monastic custom of providing special treats, representing each of the “O Antiphons,” leading up to Christmas. This has been a tradition in our home for a number of years now. It is such a fun way to teach the children about them and increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer! You can see what we have done the past couple years in either my Feast Day Plans post or under the “O” Antiphons label. There are even more great ideas over at Catholic Cuisine!

This year, since I don’t know if I will be home or in the hospital, I have tried to keep our plans fairly simple (read: can be done whether or not I am home). Other than a couple of things that will have to be done on the particular day, I am all set for this year. Here’s what I have planned for our family:

December 17th

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, this year I purchased a craft kit from Oriental trading for the children to make Christmas Bookmarks. Since we generally add a new Catholic Prayer Book or Catechism to our collection this day as well, this year we’ll be giving the children A Catholic Child’s Picture Dictionary which was originally published in 1956 but has recently been reprinted. I was flipping through it the other day, before wrapping it up, and it looks wonderful!

December 18th

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

The past couple years, we have emphasized the word “house” in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread houses this evening. This year, I found a darling little village of houses made by Wilton which I purchased for the children instead. (I’ve seen it at both Wal Mart and Michaels for less than $10! If you use a coupon at Michaels, it would only be $5-6!) This way they will each get to decorate their own. Isn’t it cute!

December 19th

O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

I was so happy when I received an email from a visitor letting me know that the main provider of Poinsettia’s was removed from Life Decision’s boycott list! Yay!! So, this year we will go back to purchasing our Poinsettia today and we will also read The Legend of the Poinsettia. (Speaking of which, have any of you read The Miracle of the First Poinsettia? It’s not available at my library right now and looks good too!)

For dinner we will have Hearty Beef Stew, which is full of root vegetables. I even have it in the freezer, all ready to go into the crock pot, in case the baby has been born! And for dessert, maybe Carrot Cake.

December 20th

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Since this is initially a monastic tradition, and on this night, the monk in charge of the wine cellar would provide a special bottle of wine. We will also be having some special drinks with dinner. Costco has a great package of delicious fruit spritzers which I picked up.

I also plan to serve a Marie Calendar’s Key Lime Pie which is already in the freezer!

December 21st

O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

For dessert I’m hoping to make “O Dayspring Ice Cream” inspired by a Blue Bunny recipe:

6 small tangerines, peeled
1 1/2 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
6 teaspoons orange marmalade

Place six freezer safe dessert plates in the freezer 30 minutes before serving. For each serving, gently pry segments of a tangerine apart. Place on dessert plate in a “spoke” like circle.
Place a 1/4 cup scoop of vanilla ice cream in center of tangerine “spoke”; top with 1 teaspoon orange marmalade. Repeat with remaining tangerines and serve immediately.

After the kids are in there pajamas, we will surprise them with a trip to town to see some of the Christmas lights! This is always such fun, and we all look forward to this little outing!

December 22nd

O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

There are lots of crown cakes to choose from over at Catholic Cuisine, but I think it would be fun to bake and decorate some of our Christmas sugar cookies as crowns!!

Needless to say, baking cookies, on December 22nd, probably won’t happen this year, so I also purchased the King of the Golden City on CD. I’d been looking for an excuse to buy it anyways! 😉 We do have the lovely cassettes by Simonetta, and the book and study guide from CHC, but I was so excited to see that Pro Multis Media has produced it as an audio dramatization with a talented cast of children actors! (It is also available from Catholic Child.) I can’t wait to listen to it!

December 23rd

O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

This is the last of the O Antiphons… Tomorrow will be Christmas Eve! The treat for today is going to be another new Nativity Set for the kids to play with during the Christmas season. I purchased two this year, one which I gave them on the first Sunday of Advent (saving baby Jesus for Christmas of course) and one for this day. I just ran across another children’s nativity set I love… I’m trying really hard to refrain from purchasing it as well!

You can also listen to the O Antiphons beautifully chanted in Latin here.

I am also considering purchasing An Advent Processions Based on the Great O Antiphons . Have any of you heard it before? Would you recommend it?


  1. Anonymous

    What a blessing it is that you share your thoughts so others can see such tangible ways of inviting grace into our homes. You are just lovely, Jessica. Thank you so much! –Cherise

  2. Emma

    Hi Jessica
    I just sent you the recipie for St.Lucia.
    Have a wonderful day all of you ladies!

  3. Shalon

    I bought the Schleich Nativity to give my kids for St. Nicholas' Day. It is beautiful and the Schleich figures are so well made!

  4. Anonymous

    just checking in on you! I haven't popped yet!! Oh patience!

  5. Anonymous

    I can't believe how behind I am in all my Advent plans!!! Such great plans Jessica!

  6. Mom2Seven

    I love "dropping in" to see what great ideas you have! Everyone tells me that I am so organized; but, honestly, you put me to shame! Your children are blessed to have such a devout mother. Peace (and rest!)

  7. Lenetta

    You got me to thinking with your plea for a more flexible Advent calendar that would fit the changing dates better . . . though I'm a bit limited in my shopping choices, so I haven't found a source yet and I've not had luck searching online so far.

    I was thinking about a Nativity set with a large-ish number of pieces – your wood one would be a good start, though I was initially thinking about a magnetic one that probably doesn't exist.

    Then I was thinking about a set of small drawers, possibly from an unfinished furniture-type place. By my count, there would need to be 28 drawers (and that wouldn't include Christmas Day if Advent started on Nov 27th . . .) and I haven't seen one that big. Our Hobby Lobby had one that had the right *size* drawers that I was thinking, but there were only six drawers. :>) Anyway, one could paint the drawers however she chose – I'm not even sure I'd go with numbers but perhaps days of the week. The uneeded drawers could just be removed, and for shorter Advents, you could just put two sheep in one drawer for example. Longer Advents, everything gets its own drawer.

    Clear as mud? :>)

    I'd love to be able to find this stuff and patent the idea, but something tells me I am going to need more eyes to find the stuff first.

    Anyway. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your plans, and I'll be linking to them on my weekly roundup!

  8. ~Emma~

    Dear Jessica
    I am praying for you and baby Rose while I am thanking God for the blessings from all your
    wonderful inspirations.
    Yesterday,on my birthday, the first Catholic resources i have ordered because of your blog arrived .
    If I could only share how much this means for my family living here~we are not alone!
    A blessed Sunday to you and your loved ones.

  9. Lenetta

    I was in a bit of a hurry when I left my previous comment and didn't make it clear that I was quite tongue in cheek regarding "patenting" the Advent calendar idea. (But I really do want to find some of those wooden drawers!)

    Just wanted to pop back in and let you know that I linked to this amazing post on my weekly roundup – and the 12 days lapbook post, and the Jesse tea, and the O Antiphons House. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful ideas to encourage the us!

  10. Elena LaVictoire

    Wonderful ideas! I think if I do the rootbeer from Waltzing Matilda and your Keylime pie idea- my kids will be thrilled.

    Best wishes on the new baby – I too have a little Rose -I love that name!


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