Advent is the first season in the “Time of Christmas.” The calendar of the Church begins with Advent (from the Latin, adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival”), a period of preparation before Christmas. The Savior’s Birth is second in importance only to His Resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Advent encompasses a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ at Christmas. This year, during Advent, we will begin exploring the Great “O” Antiphons and finish them during the Christmas Season. “An antiphon is a term we see in worship regularly. An antiphon is a refrain that is sung before (and sometimes after and during) a Psalm or other song, and it’s typically a Bible verse or a historic liturgical text. A common example is in Matins, when the pastor and congregation sing, “Blessed be God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; O come, let us worship him,” both before and after the Venite, “O come, let us sing to the Lord” (Lutheran Service Book, 220-221).

The origin of the “O” Antiphons is around the eighth century. In larger cities and monasteries, it was customary to have services daily (or several times a day), and in the seven days before Christmas Eve, it became a regular practice to sing the assigned “O” Antiphon before and after the Magnificat (“My soul magnifies the Lord”) at the evening Vespers service.

In the twelfth or thirteenth century, these antiphons were paraphrased into metrical, poetic verses which became the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” This hymn, found in LSB 357, includes the text of the “O” Antiphons on the facing page, making it easy to see the correlation between the stanzas of the hymn and the antiphons. One alteration in order occurred: The final antiphon (O Emmanuel) became the first stanza of the hymn instead of the seventh.” (Lutheran Witness, November 2016).

We will explore these Great “O” Antiphons in connection with the hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” during the Advent and Christmas Seasons.

Join us for worship these special days

Nov 30 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM Wednesday Advent Worship Service
Dec 7 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM Wednesday Advent Worship Service
Dec 11 9:00 AM Worship Service - Lessons & Carols
Dec 11 3:00 PM Advent & Christmas Organ concert
Dec 14 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM Wednesday Advent Worship Service
Dec 24 5:00 PM Family Worship Service - Children's Christmas Program
Dec 24  9:00 PM Candlelight Service - Traditional carols & Devine Service Worship
Dec 25 9:00 AM Christmas Day Service - Divine Service Worship