I ran this series of posts on the O Antiphons last year, and I'm going to publish them again with additional reflections.
"O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, You govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation."
Today is something our family has been waiting for all year -- the first of the "O Antiphons". For our family evening prayers (and also some people's personal morning prayer) we use the Liturgy of the Hours, the official daily prayer of the Catholic church. (Bet you thought that was the Rosary! Nope, that's considered a "private devotion", --which is of course how we use the LotH ;-D ) Every day at evening prayer we recite the Magnificat, Mary's song of praise in response to the greeting of Elizabeth. Each day of the liturgical year has its own antiphon, a sentence or so which is traditionally recited between sections of the prayer. We just read them at the start of it.
Some of the antiphons are simply quotes, from Scripture or from the Magnificat itself. But starting on December 17 and running through the 23rd (because evening prayer of Christmas Eve is the start of Christmas), the antiphons are translations of very old (fifth century AD?) Latin ones. The Wikipedia article I linked to above has an excellent analysis. But you've certainly heard them; the verses of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and many other Advent hymns repeat them.
For our family, the O Antiphons are many things. For the kids (especially when they were younger), they just mean Christmas will be here soon. But for someone like me, who is always struggling to balance the "Mary" and "Martha" parts of Advent, they give a "theme of the day", something to meditate on while running at full tilt. So I'm going to post them here each morning, and with an effort maybe I"ll be able to slow down and prepare my heart.
"O Wisdom . . . " Wow am I grateful for God's wisdom this year! I have been relying heavily on it to get me through this holiday season, and I promise you I would be jibbering without it. My carefully-thought-out schedule has been shot to pieces so many times, but everything is still getting done. I'm glad it's not just my own wisdom available!