The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

by | Dec 18, 2018 | Advent and Christmas, Christmas 2018, O Antiphons | 0 comments

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the “O Antiphons” on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.

The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat.

Advent Hymns from We Sing and Chant

The “treats” have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn’t need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

Below I’ve listed the treats I choose for this year, as well as additional ideas (food, activities and gifts – or simply decorate chocolate coins) for each of the O Antiphons.

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package including seven Cookie Stamps, one to represent each of the seven O Antiphons! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: 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!

O Sapientia (O Wisdom) – SaintCards + Holy Helpers & Doctors of the Church

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. Last year it was two books in The Wonder Series: The Wonder Story and The Wonder Days. The year before it was An Alphabet of the Altar which had just been reprinted by St. Augustine Academy Press. This year I’ll be giving them SaintCards + Holy Helpers & Doctors of the Church. I think we’ll all enjoy playing this and learning more about the saints!

Additional Ideas: 

.: 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!

O Adonai (O Lord) – Gingerbread House Kit from Trader Joe’s
In the past we would emphasize the word “house” in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses but I’m hoping we can fit it in this year!

Additional Ideas: 

.: 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.
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) – 2018 Family Ornament to add to the Christmas Tree
Additional Ideas:

From Jesse, the shepherd, to Jesus, the Good Shepherd… Shepherds tie in nicely this year!
This year, in addition to the new family ornament, our children will be unwrapping this cute Shepherd and Angel playlet from Shining Light Dolls. 

.: 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.

O Clavis David (O Key of David) – Fishing for Bible Characters

We’ll have another family game night, along with some sparkling drinks!

Additional Ideas:

.: 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!

Christmas Morning 2017
O Oriens (O Dayspring) – New Christmas Pajamas

I decided to go a different direction all together this year… I’m going to surprise the kids with their Christmas Eve pajamas a few days early. I’ve found that there is just too much going on Christmas Eve (especially since we love to attend the midnight mass) to wait until then. Last year I gave them to them all on the feast of St. Nicholas, but this year I didn’t have them all in time. I think they will be perfect to go along with this O Antiphon. We’ll also try and go out to see Christmas lights, as usual, weather permitting.

Additional Ideas:
.: 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!

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) – Three Kings Playset from Shining Light Dolls

Additional Ideas:

.: 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!

O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) – The Holy Family Nativity Playset from Shining Light Dolls

Some year’s I’ve given our children a new nativity set on this day… This year I’m splitting it up, giving them the shepherd/angel one night, the three kings another, and finishing it with Mary & Joseph. I love that it comes with two Mary dolls – one expecting and one holding Baby Jesus!

.: O ANTIPHONS GIVEAWAY :. 

Here are the cookie stamps I picked out to go along with each of the O Antiphons.
The winner will recieve one of each!

Wisdom: #460 – Triune God
House: #214 – Home Sweet Home
Root of Jesse: #520 – Willow Tree
Key of David: #543 – Key to My Heart
Dayspring: #291 – Moravian Star
King: #448 – Norwegian Wedding Crown
Emmanuel: #368 – Nativity

(7 cookie stamps with recipe booklet @ $12.99 ea = $90.93 value)

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Prayer of Mothers

Father in heaven, grant me the grace to appreciate the dignity which you have conferred on me. Let me realize that not even the Angels have been blessed with such a privilege—to share in your creative miracle and bring new Saints to heaven. Make me a good mother to all my children after the example of Mary, the Mother of your Son. Through the intercession of Jesus and Mary I ask your continued blessings on my family. Let us all be dedicated to your service on earth and attain the eternal happiness of your kingdom in heaven. Amen.


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Hi! I'm Jessica, a Roman Catholic wife and home educating mother to our nine children. I was home educated myself, along with my eleven younger siblings. I have a special devotion to St. Therese, through whom I have been given much help and many blessings--the beautiful "Shower of Roses" that she has sent my way! Here I will record a few of the blessings I treasure. Please remember that what you see here is just a little glimpse at our lives, so please say a prayer for us, as we continue to strive for holiness.

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