The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

by | Dec 17, 2019 | Advent and Christmas, O Antiphons | 87 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.

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.

In case you are looking for some inspiration, I’ve listed some of the treats I’ve given my family over the years… Special food ideas, activities and gifts (or you can simply decorate chocolate coins!) for each of the O Antiphons can be found below. I’m still trying to decide what I’ll be doing this year.

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! I also have a sweet hand-painted nativity set to give away as well. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: December 17th – O Sapientia (O Wisdom) :.
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, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family.
A Few Ideas: 

.: December 18th – O Adonai (O Lord) :.
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!

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. We want our college students to be home for the fun too and they won’t arrive until nearly midnight on the 19th!

A Few Ideas: 

.: December 19th – O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) :.
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.
A Few Ideas:

.: December 20th – O Clavis David (O Key of David) :.
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.
A Few Ideas:

.: December 21st – O Oriens (O Dayspring) :.
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!
A Few Ideas:
.: December 22nd – O Rex Gentium (O Kind of the Gentiles) :.
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!

A Few Ideas:

.: December 23rd – O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) :.
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!
A Few Ideas:

Prize #1

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)

Congratulations Trisha!
*Original winner never responded to emails, so runner up…

Congratulations Jennifer Miller!  
“These cookie cutters are a great match! I would love to get these! I love their St Nicholas one.”

Prize #2 
The winner will receive this hand-painted Holy Family Set

Sponsored by Real. True. Beautiful
(Holy Family Set – $35.00 value)

Congratulations Kimberly! 
“This is our second year doing the O Antiphons. I just love them.”

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 


  1. Courtney Brandwein

    These are so neat!

    2019-12-17 22:10:07

  2. Chris Schremmer

    These are really neat- what a helpful way to make the O Antiphons a part of our Advent preparation.

    2019-12-17 22:40:48

  3. Joanna Dell

    Love your give aways! Thanks for the great ideas.

    2019-12-17 23:07:36

  4. Kalen

    You have such awesome ideas for each day of the O Antiphons! I have never prayed them faithfully and am making a point this year to start this tradition with my family! Your cookie cutters are just beautiful!

    2019-12-17 23:09:33

  5. Elizabeth

    We love the tradition of celebrating the O Antiphons! The cookie stamps would be such a wonderful and functional keepsake. Thank you for posting this great giveaway!

    2019-12-17 23:13:18

  6. Jodi Reel

    A Jesse Tea is new to us this year. So glad you keep this so organized, its my go to when feast days pop up! This year we got the three wise men from playmobile, and they will begin to show up in fun places every morning until they find Jesus at Epiphany!

    2019-12-17 23:14:54

  7. Ashley

    So cute! Love the gingerbread house idea for the "house" Antiphon

    2019-12-17 23:18:59

  8. Linda

    Thank you

    2019-12-17 23:32:20

  9. Angie W

    Oh, these are great! Thank you!

    2019-12-17 23:37:11

  10. Denise

    Always enjoy the ideas you share

    2019-12-17 23:58:02

  11. Maryann

    Those cookie stamps look amazing!

    2019-12-18 00:00:16

  12. Tracy Bua Smith

    I’m always learning more about the O Antiphons! These cookie cutters look great!

    2019-12-18 00:00:49

  13. Maureen

    Beautiful tradition!

    2019-12-18 00:01:29

  14. Raquel

    We are doing the O Antiphons for the first time this year!

    2019-12-18 00:32:03

  15. Karina

    Thanks for another great post, and ideas for the O;Antiphons. I think it's one of my favorite parts of Advent/Christmas!

    2019-12-18 01:24:17

  16. Sarah

    What great ideas! Thank you!

    2019-12-18 01:30:55

  17. Maria A

    The O Antiphons are one of my favorite parts of Advent. Of course it was the Benedictines! :)))

    2019-12-18 01:40:53

  18. Stephanie D

    Love how clever your treats are! Especially the "root" themes!

    2019-12-18 01:43:53

  19. Sarah

    Great ideas! Can’t wait to try them!

    2019-12-18 01:44:36

  20. Lisa Quinn

    I would love to start incorporating this into our liturgical life!

    2019-12-18 02:13:32

  21. Nicole

    We love all of your ideas and have implemented so many of them over the past few years! These cookie cutters are amazing!

    2019-12-18 02:35:04

  22. Lauran

    Wonderful ideas for the O Antiphons! 😍

    2019-12-18 03:04:07

  23. Holly

    Great ideas & I loved learning more about the O Antiphons!

    2019-12-18 04:00:47

  24. Camille Iorns

    I never knew that information about Ero Cras and it’s Latin meaning. Thank you!

    2019-12-18 05:07:03

  25. Rachel

    I’m hoping to start the Antiphons tonight – just a day late! Lovely cookie stamps.

    2019-12-18 05:08:49

  26. lizette

    Lovely cookie stamps!

    2019-12-18 05:15:30

  27. Veera

    This is the first year we’re praying the O Antiphons with my son. My late husband was the liturgical expert in our family, but I’m slowly learning more and teaching our son. Pray for us! <3

    2019-12-18 05:53:35

  28. Rita

    I love how simply you’ve laid the O Antiphons tradition out! Thank you! Blessed Advent.

    2019-12-18 06:59:28

  29. Sonja C.

    I had never heard of the tradition of the "O Antiphons" until I saw one of your posts years ago. Now my family and I incorporate this into our Advent celebration as well. Thank you for sharing the Faith!

    2019-12-18 07:03:46

  30. Christine

    This is our first year implementing this custom in our home! So beautiful!

    2019-12-18 12:20:14

  31. Aimee

    You always have great ideas!

    2019-12-18 13:12:33

  32. Kathy

    New to this blog and I am loving it!

    2019-12-18 13:27:06

  33. Sarah

    What a great idea for Advent! And I love baking cookies.

    2019-12-18 13:50:41

  34. Jodi

    Thanks for sharing about another Advent tradition!

    2019-12-18 13:54:27

  35. An Lyn

    Thank you for sharing your traditions and bringing the Catholic Faith to Life in this age!

    2019-12-18 15:07:37

  36. Sandy

    Lovely! O come Emmanuel!

    2019-12-18 15:18:19

  37. Jen D.

    These are great! I love all of your ideas for celebrating the liturgical year.

    2019-12-18 15:19:52

  38. Chandra

    I love your ideas! Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

    2019-12-18 16:15:49

  39. Jennifer Miller

    These cookie cutters are a great match! I would love to get these! I love their St Nicholas one.

    2019-12-18 16:39:09

  40. Haus Frau

    Those are lovely ideas! Thanks for the generous giveaway!

    2019-12-18 16:53:09

  41. Debbie

    I have admired your O Antiphon House and Symbols for many years. Your Advent Journey table with your Advent Wreath is so special. And now I noticed that you changed the table runner to gold for this week of O Antiphon prayers. Perfect! The cookie stamps are delightful and are perfect for each of the O Antiphons. I am sure it was a joy for you to choose them for your give away Jessica. Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Expectation today 18 December! Being of Polish descent I love celebrating this ancient feast to Honor our beautiful Blessed Virgin Mary…

    2019-12-18 18:19:08

  42. Norma Garcia

    Wow, those are great!

    2019-12-18 18:22:49

  43. Joy

    Always love hearing and learning from what your family does spiritually to celebrate every Holy Day or approaching Holy Day. Y'all's Faith is inspiring. God Bless y'all.

    2019-12-18 19:33:22

  44. Jaime

    Just trying the O Antiphons this year.

    2019-12-18 19:38:48

  45. Marilyn

    Beautiful tradition. Marilyn

    2019-12-18 19:47:06

  46. Colleen

    Such great ideas!! I really want to embrace the O Antiphons next year—I was totally unprepared this year.

    2019-12-18 19:49:30

  47. Debbie

    That is so cool.

    2019-12-18 22:07:38

  48. Laura G.

    Growing up, my family never celebrated the O Antiphons. I never knew about it, but because of your site, I have been implementing this beautiful tradition with my own family for years now. I have truly grown in my Catholic faith because of your example. Thank you.

    2019-12-18 23:21:32

  49. Mary W

    I had never heard of the O Antiphons until your blog. 2 years ago we made our own O Antiphons house and blocks. It’s a beautiful custom to add to our Advent preparation.

    2019-12-19 00:33:49

  50. Lisa C.

    We started this after I discovered your blog several years ago. Such a lovely way to lead up to Christmas! Our older son's birthday is on O Radiant Dawn, so seeing Christmas lights is a great way to celebrate his birth, which was long hoped for. Hard to believe he will be 20 this Saturday! I remember once when he was little he said he loved having his birthday close to Jesus's!

    2019-12-19 01:45:01

  51. Sarah

    Beautifu idea. 🙂

    2019-12-19 03:42:07

  52. radiant869

    The O Antiphons add depth and excitement to Christmas. Loved your post explaining the meaning of everything.

    2019-12-19 04:24:42

  53. Amy H

    Always love your ideas! Thank you!!

    2019-12-19 04:47:28

  54. Mary S Pinheiro

    So lovely! I asked for some cookie stamps this year 🥰❤️

    2019-12-19 11:08:08

  55. Jennifer

    I never knew about the O Antiphons until I read about here years ago. Thank you so much for teaching us about this beautiful, faith-filled and fun tradition.

    2019-12-19 12:25:56

  56. Trisha S

    This is awesome! I have been looking for the best way to add this tradition to our Advent – this is it!

    2019-12-19 12:29:34

  57. Beth

    Love the ideas!

    2019-12-19 14:15:37

  58. Michelle

    Beautiful ideas!

    2019-12-19 15:01:54

  59. Elisse Florance

    Great ideas! Thanks!

    2019-12-19 15:11:06

  60. Amy P.

    hope to step up my advent game and do more for the Antiphons next year!!

    2019-12-19 16:17:20

  61. Stephanie L

    Love these! thanks

    2019-12-19 16:27:42

  62. Giselle Vargas

    so cute!! Thanks you!!

    2019-12-19 18:46:36

  63. Kimberly P

    This is our second year doing the O Antiphons. I just love them.

    2019-12-20 01:57:58

  64. Heidi

    Love this tradition- so beautiful!

    2019-12-20 02:08:23

  65. Jackie

    Thanks for sharing the details of your family tradition!

    2019-12-20 04:56:44

  66. Peace Ellis

    I think this sounds great! Thank you

    2019-12-20 06:42:06

  67. Jessica

    Wonderful Catholic traditions and fun! So inspiring.

    2019-12-20 12:31:19

  68. Candice

    How fun!

    2019-12-20 13:14:14

  69. Jessica Compton

    Always love your giveaways!

    2019-12-20 13:23:35

  70. Heather

    I'd love the cookie stamps! Your blog post and so many good ideas!

    2019-12-20 13:35:57

  71. Christine

    The O Antiphons are my favorite tradition of Advent! So lovely. Thank you!

    2019-12-20 13:46:32

  72. Kelly

    Love this family tradition!

    2019-12-20 15:29:24

  73. Kristy

    Love the cookie stamps, what a fun idea!

    2019-12-20 16:14:07

  74. Emily Kennell

    I love this idea! What a great way to teach AND to grow!

    2019-12-20 20:24:26

  75. Melodee

    Thanks to your inspiration, we're on our third year of celebrating the O Antiphons. God bless you!

    2019-12-20 22:15:16

  76. Michele

    I have yet to incorporate the O Antiphons as a tradition yet. This would help.

    2019-12-21 01:55:16

  77. Noreen

    Love the O Antiphons! Thanks for sharing a beautiful Catholic tradition!

    2019-12-21 03:04:11

  78. Krista

    I love all your suggestions for the O antiphons! Thank you!

    2019-12-21 14:46:36

  79. Mary Liz

    I love this tradition so much! My oldest just reached the age last year where "Ero Cras" finally clicked with him. Thanks for always inspiring us with wonderful ideas!

    2019-12-21 19:08:09

  80. Maura

    Every year it's my intention to start these…Hopefully next year!

    2019-12-21 21:27:05

  81. Cheryl

    Thank you!

    2019-12-22 01:15:49

  82. Jess

    Alot of wondeeful ideas here…. Looking forward to trying some of this for next year!

    2019-12-22 02:39:03

  83. Frances M Bilotta

    Thank you for the inspiration. I need to slow down during Advent and do more of these activities with my family.

    2019-12-22 04:41:11

  84. Nicole

    Thank you for your generosity! What neat gifts!

    2019-12-22 09:01:59

  85. Elicia P

    I would have never thought for the cookie stamps. What a great idea. Thank you for all your ideas.

    2019-12-22 14:41:22

  86. Melissa

    Thanks for all that you do to help families live their Catholic faith.

    2019-12-22 21:58:00

  87. Cassandra D

    A lot of wonderful ideas.

    2019-12-23 07:44:17


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