O Antiphon | December 22
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 King of all nations and keystone of the church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
In today’s antiphon, we pray with a particularly imploring spirit, even more than on other days in this cycle. First and foremost, we address Jesus as King, and this reminds us of the eternal majesty of Jesus that we celebrated a few weeks ago on the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
The rest of the antiphon emphasizes our total reliance on God. The role of Jesus as “keystone of the church” recalls Isaiah’s prophecy, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us: upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5). Jesus is the foundation on which we rest.
Not only do we rely now as creatures on the foundation of Jesus, but we also recall that our very lives are from God; He formed us from the dust. In some ways, this is humbling. We are not responsible for our own creation, and any merits we have do not come from ourselves, but from God. But this is also a comfort. With the knowledge that we are God’s creation, we also have the unshakeable faith that God will protect and love what He has created. He promised to save His people, and through Jesus, He has.