O Antiphon | December 17
From December 17 through December 23, special antiphons known as the O Antiphons are chanted during the Liturgy of the Hours. As Father William Saunders explains, each of the O Antiphons refers to one of the titles of Jesus and the prophecies from Isaiah about the Messiah. During this week leading up to Christmas Eve, we will reflect on the O Antiphons and the scriptural sources that Fr. Saunders has identified.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
In Isaiah 11:2-3, the prophet says, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” Today’s antiphon references this prophecy and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, the period of reflection marked by the O Antiphons begins in a truly Trinitarian spirit.
During the celebration of Christmas, there is a tendency to focus on the Child Jesus. This is not a bad thing—it is the Nativity of Jesus that we are celebrating. But focusing exclusively on the Child Jesus carries the risk of forgetting the Trinitarian nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we pray during Advent and Christmas, we should be careful not to sentimentalize the season or Jesus Himself.
Today’s antiphon is a good reminder of the Trinity and Jesus’s part in it. Christmas and the birth of Christ cannot be separated from the rest of Christ’s mission. In celebrating Christmas, we also remember Jesus’s teachings in His public ministry, followed by His saving death and resurrection.