Advent is our opportunity to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christmas. It has always been regarded as a penitential period, one of quiet prayer and longing for Christ’s rebirth in our hearts. In the bustle and rush of Christmas preparations it is often hard to find space and time for prayer, let alone extra periods of quiet. So, it is useful have to hand some simple prayers, invocations or titles of God and then, as we go about our daily tasks, bringing one to mind and thinking what it might mean for us and the world. The great O Antiphons are good for this purpose. These are ancient titles for Jesus, from 8th century, usually set to plain chant; one is sung before and after the Magnificat on each of the days 17-23rd December, but they can be used at any time.
O Sapientia O Wisdom, Word of God
O Adonai O sacred Lord of ancient Israel
O Radix Jesse O Root of Jesse’s Stem
O Clavis David O Key of David, opening heaven’s gate
O Oriens O Day Star, Splendour of eternal light
O Rex Gentium O King of the nations, joy of every human heart.
O Emmanuel O King and lawgiver, desire of the nations.
As we think and pray these words we will be united with the whole Christian Church across the world and back in time across the centuries; even while standing in a supermarket queue, washing up, wielding a chisel, riding a bike. God was never bothered by location, only sincerity of heart.
O God, you know how busy I am, but this doesn’t mean that I want us to be separated. Help me pray in the places of my activity, to chat to you as I work; and may my prayers spread beyond me to encompass with your love those around me, especially those who do not know you. Amen
(Reflections are provided each week by a member of the congregation.)