Service of Advent Lessons and Carols

The Great O Antiphons—From Darkness to Light
Sunday, December 19, 2021
11:00 AM

The Advent Lessons & Carols service is based on the Great O Antiphons of Advent. Each lesson is paired with one of seven antiphons originally sung at Vespers as antiphons to the Magnificat from December 17 to 23. The antiphons address the Messiah with various titles drawn from the Hebrew scriptures:

December 17 O Sapientia – O Wisdom

December 18 O Adonai – O Lord

December 19 O Radix Jesse – O Root of Jesse

December 20 O Clavis David – O Key of David

December 21 O Oriens – O Dayspring

December 22 O Rex Gentium – O King of the Nations

December 23 O Emmanuel – O Emmanuel, God with Us

The Latin text of the O Antiphons imbeds an acrostic: read in reverse order from last to first antiphon, the second word of each stanza begins with the letters ERO CRAS, Latin for “I shall be present tomorrow,” the text not revealed until the singing of the final stanza on December 23. The bulletin’s cover art, created by Emily Norris, reflects this hidden word through visual art.

Our worship service today features the O Antiphons sung one at a time, each followed by a prophetic text of the Old Testament and a corresponding fulfillment text from the New Testament. Each pair of texts is followed by a musical work illuminating its lesson.

The overall theme is “Darkness to Light.” Advent has long been symbolized by the lighting of candles, representing the light that was brought into a dark world on a night nearly 2000 years ago. As we await and expect that glorious morn each year, we remember the darkness that still remains in our world. And, we work to bring light to those who are less fortunate, downtrodden, or in desperate need of love and healing.

Please utilize the time of silence before the service to reflect on the darkness in your own life, and the lives of those around you. May the light of Christ shine brightly to all this blessed Advent and Christmas season!

Bulletin for the service