Share this story

Welcoming Jesus With the Joyful O Antiphons

By Veronica Szczygiel | Nativity Image By: Getty Images/DigitalVision Vectors/CSA-Printstock | Background By: Getty Images/iStockphoto/jessicahyde | December 2021

Welcoming Jesus With the Joyful O Antiphons

The week before Christmas is bustling and bursting with to-do lists. Last-minute shopping, cookie baking, cleaning and decorating help prepare our homes to welcome family and friends. This year, let us also set aside time to prepare our hearts to welcome Jesus with the O Antiphons.

Since the eighth century A.D., the O Antiphons have been said or sung after the Magnificat during Advent vespers in the seven days before Christmas. Each O Antiphon calls Jesus a different name inspired by Old Testament prophetic writings.

Each evening for seven nights, read the O Antiphons and reflect on the questions below, either in prayerful solitude or with your family at the dinner table or during prayer time.

December 17: O Wisdom … come to teach us the path of knowledge!

Wisdom is understanding. How have I gained clarity this year?

What do I still need to understand?

December 18: O Leader … come to rescue us with your mighty power!

God leads us to redemption. Where is God leading me?

How can I lead others to Christ?

December 19: O Root of Jesse’s stem … come to save us without delay!

Roots are a tree’s foundation. How is God the foundation of my life?

How can I make his roots stronger in me?

December 20: O Key of David … come and free the prisoners of darkness!

Keys open doors. What doors has God opened for me?

How can I open doors for others?

December 21: O Radiant Dawn … come and shine on those who dwell in darkness.

Sunrises are full of promise. What is my hope for the upcoming year?

December 22: O King of all nations … come and save man!

God is King of all nations, not just some. Where there is discord in my life, how can I promote unity and peace?

December 23: O Emmanuel … come to save us, Lord our God!

Emmanuel means “God is with us.” Where is God working in my life?

In what ways has the Lord saved me?

The O Antiphons encourage us to prepare patiently for a blessed, holy Christmas, because the best things are always worth the wait.


Veronica Szczygiel is the assistant director of online learning at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education.