December 17th: The First “O” Antiphon

Listen to this scripture passage & reflection, and pray along with us…

During the final days of Advent, the anticipation increases as the birth of the Savior draws near. In the seven evenings before Christmas, this anticipation is marked by the “O” Antiphons. This liturgical tradition from the earliest days of the Church emphasizes a different prophetic title of Christ as foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah. These are included in Evening Prayer on the final seven nights of Advent.

The First "O" Antiphon

O Highest Wisdom, come.
While reaching end to end
in sweetness ord’ring all,
to us, O mighty Savior,
discerning judgment, teach.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John. 

In the beginning was the Word,
    and the Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
    and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
    and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

A few friends of mine recently told me about a restaurant they went to. What was interesting about this restaurant is that you eat your meal in complete darkness. The kind of darkness where you can’t see your hand in front of your face. You are guided to your table by one of the wait staff who is blind. The idea behind the restaurant is to experience a portion of life that a blind person goes through on a daily basis. You order your food in the light, but you consume it in total darkness. You have to rely on your other senses to know what is around you.

This experience reminded me of the O Highest Wisdom, Come antiphon and, more particularly, the gospel reading from John 1:1-5. The experience at the restaurant is similar to our spiritual journey in life at times. Sometimes we get lost in the dark and can’t ‘see’ our way out. It’s amazing how much we take advantage of the light and don’t realize how important light is for everything we do. We forget how important it is when faced with darkness. Just like the darkness, we stumble our way around with no clear path and we often bump into things we can’t see. The darkness hides and covers up what we can’t see. The light reveals the truth and provides a path that is easy for us to see.

As we prepare for the coming of the birth of Jesus, let us remember that the light is God and he will lead us in the right direction. The light will also teach us and reveal the truth.

By Peter Grable

Lord God,
fill our hearts with your love
and our minds with your wisdom
so that our actions will be pleasing to you.

May your peace, which surpasses all understanding,
guard our hearts and minds.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.