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Our Advent Sermons Are Brought To You By The Letter 'O'

Author: Jeremy Burrows/27 November 2018/Categories: News



The Christmas 'playlist' from 1,500 years ago is the inspiration for the teaching at QP this advent, writes senior minister Iain Macaulay.

Christmas is coming and with it the sound of overplayed jingles and Christmas pop tunes. Soon we will be “wishing it was Christmas every day”, “decking the halls” and “rocking around the Christmas tree.”

At QP we will be taking a musical journey way back in time for our advent inspiration.


The ancient and great O Antiphons are hardly the stuff of the Christmas playlist today. But 1,500 years ago they were the top tunes of advent and, even now, they form the basis of many liturgies for the season.

What are these great 'O's? An antiphon is a short phrase of worship sung out in ancient chants as part of a call and response between singer and congregation.

The 'O's were special because they proclaimed the titles of the Messiah drawn from the prophecies of Isaiah. They call attention to what God has fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ and all that he is as our Messiah and saviour and king. 

The nearest we usually get to them are the verses in the ancient carol 'O come, O Come Immanuel'.

Here are all seven in original Latin, with translation -- O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Dayspring), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), O Emmanuel (O With Us is God).

This year we will stop and gaze at some of these magnificent truths and titles of Jesus – and add our great 'Os' -- and aahs -- in worship.



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