The “O Antiphons”–December 17-23

Dec 11, 2022

The expression “O Antiphons” was new to me a few years ago. But to my surprise, I have been singing the “O Antiphons” for most of my life in the Advent/Christmas carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The antiphons are descriptors of the expected Messiah and express the urgent Old Testament longing and hope for His coming. Emmanuel, Key of David, Ruler of Nations, Wisdom, Adonai, Root of Jesse….are a few of the Scriptural names. The Roman Catholic Church sings the “O” Antiphons” during Evening Prayer from December 17-23, a practice recorded as early as the 6th century.

The template below is a last-week-of-Advent opportunity to focus on the longings of the “O Antiphons.”   The big oval is the “O” of the antiphon. Read the antiphon, then reflect on it by drawing, doodling, or writing in the O.  In the example below, I responded to the first antiphon O Wisdom; my friend Sally to the antiphon O Adonai. Her drawing is the first letter of word Adonai and the first  letter of the Hebrew alphabet aleph or alef.  Click here to download the template.

The website The Hymns and Carols of Christmas lists scriptural citations for the names of the Messiah in the O Antiphons.

Click Here for a beautiful sung version of the Antiphons.


  1. Thank you so much for helping me to learn more about one of my favorite songs of the season!

    • I’m glad is was helpful. It was news to me!

  2. Thanks, Sybil, for giving me a way to join in–I was late to the Advent party this year and have not started my calendar, but now I have this special way to be more intentional in reflection and prayer during the last bit of Advent. Miss you!


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