As a little girl, I loved puzzles. The more difficult they were, the more I loved them. And how I remember my anticipation at Christmas to see if ‘Santa’ would deliver the puzzle I hoped for.
So, it comes as no surprise that I found the following an interesting and exciting Christmas message!
The much loved Christmas hymn, Veni, Veni Emmanuel – or ‘O Come, o Come Emmanuel’ – is sung at Evening Prayer during the octave before Christmas (December 17 – 23). Each night highlights one of the seven “O” Antiphons, each a different name for the Christ: Sapientia (wisdom), Adonai (Lord of Might), Radix Jesse (Stump/Rod of Jesse), Clavis David (Key of David), Oriens (Dayspring), Rex Gentium (King of the Nations), Emmanuel (God with Us).
These names in themselves give us something to ponder, as we marvel each year at the wonder that God became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). As we ponder this anew, in anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth, these antiphons together have another message for us. A very timely message as we – on the eighth night (23rd) – sing the refrain for the last time:
Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel,
to thee shall come Emmanuel!
If we pause to look back at those seven names of Christ, in reverse order:
we find an acrostic through which the Lord responds, “ERO CRAS!”, which can be translated, “Tomorrow, I will come!”
And so it is! Tomorrow night we begin our celebration of the Christ Child.
Maranatha! Come, Emmanuel!
And the Lord responds, “Behold, I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:12.