Yearning for Christ’s coming
By Dr Christine Wood, Director of the Office of Evangelisation & Catechesis
The Church sings the ‘O’ Antiphons for evening prayer from December 17-23 as she eagerly anticipates the birth of her Lord Jesus. Let’s take a brief look at how she envisions the baby Jesus, and conform our own hearts to this same prayer.
“O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge!” Jesus, you are God who created the world and hold the universe in your hand, enlighten our minds with your truth.
“O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai: come to rescue us with your mighty power!” Jesus, you are the new Moses, giving us the new Law of the Gospel, and if we observe it, you will rescue us from sin and death.
“O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!” God had promised King David that his son shall sit on an everlasting throne. Jesus is this son of David, the root of Jesse, who has conquered his people’s enemies.
“O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!” Through original sin we are born as inmates of spiritual darkness. Through faith and baptism, Jesus liberates us from this darkness and transfers us to the kingdom of light.
“O Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.” Jesus’ birth is the dawn of justice in the world: he brings right order to break us free from the shackles of death.
“O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!” Adam was formed from dust, but fell away from God’s friendship through disobedience. Jesus, the new Adam, is the foundation stone of a new creation, the Church. Jesus, don’t delay: come, recreate us!
“O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!” Emmanuel, meaning ‘God with us’, is the name of Jesus the Lord. As the good King he rules justly through giving his people a righteous law and the means to keep that law so that they can be saved. Your law, Jesus, is a lamp for our feet.
As we await Christmas day, let’s renew our desire to welcome Jesus Christ who frees us from every evil and beckons us to come into his glorious Kingdom of light and truth.