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The O Antiphons - 1. Sapientia

In some parts of the church they use as part of their Christmas worship, these seven O antiphons. Each of them addresses Jesus Christ using a Messianic title drawn from Old Testament prophecy. Read backwards, the initials of each title in Latin form the words “Ero Cras” or "Tomorrow I come" – looking forward to the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The seven antiphons which we will look at individually over the next 7 days are:

  • Sapientia - Wisdom
  • Adonai - Holy Lord
  • Radix Jesse - Root of Jesse
  • Clavis David - Key of David
  • Oriens - Morning Star
  • Rex Gentium - King of the Nations
  • Emmanuel - God with us

Today our Antiphon is Sapientia.

 

1. O Sapientia - Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High God. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner: you came to teach us the way of truth.

Our Old Testament readings are:

Isaiah 11:1-3 - A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—
and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 28:29 - All this also comes from the LORD Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent.

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A Christmas Prayer Service

Today as part of our Christmas series, we have a prayer service where we offer to our God, prayers of the Church from history. Come, Church! Let's pray together!

1. Nativity Prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

2. Nativity Prayer from the Orthodox Liturgy Feast of the Nativity

3. An advent prayer dating from the 10th century...

4. Christ, Redeemer of All

5. A Nativity Prayer of St. Augustine

6. The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.


That is all for today! Come back tomorrow for more in our Christmas series!

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A Christmas Sermon of Martin Luther

the angel said to the shepherds, “Don't be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David's town your Saviour was born—Christ the Lord! And this is what will prove it to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great army of heaven's angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased!”

(Luke 2:10-14 Good News Translation)

You have heard today the story from the Gospel of St. Luke 2:10-14 of how it came to pass that our Lord Christ was born and then also the message of the angel, who announced who the boy was who was born. Now we shall go on and take up the message of the angel. So for today you have heard only that the child was born and that he is the Lord and Saviour. Thus we spoke of the story, how it unfolded, and who the persons in it were.

This article is so high that even today it is believed by only a few. Nevertheless, God has preserved it even through those who have not believed it. For at all times in the monasteries and universities there have been disputations and lectures which dealt with the fact that Christ the Lord, born of Mary, is true man and God.

 

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A Christmas Sermon of John Chrysostom (4th century)

Behold a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.
Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Son of justice. Ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed, He had the power, He descended, He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God.
 
This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.

And so the kings have come, and they have seen the heavenly King that has come upon the earth, not bringing with Him Angels, nor Archangels, nor Thrones, nor Dominations, nor Powers, nor Principalities, but, treading a new and solitary path, He has come forth from a spotless womb.

Since this heavenly birth cannot be described, neither does His coming amongst us in these days permit of too curious scrutiny. Though I know that a Virgin this day gave birth, and I believe that God was begotten before all time, yet the manner of this generation I have learned to venerate in silence and I accept that this is not to be probed too curiously with wordy speech. For with God we look not for the order of nature, but rest our faith in the power of Him who works.

What shall I say to you; what shall I tell you? I behold a Mother who has brought forth; I see a Child come to this light by birth. The manner of His conception I cannot comprehend. Nature here rested, while the Will of God labored. O ineffable grace! The Only Begotten, Who is before all ages, Who cannot be touched or be perceived, Who is simple, without body, has now put on my body, that is visible and liable to corruption. For what reason? That coming amongst us he may teach us, and teaching, lead us by the hand to the things that men cannot see. For since men believe that the eyes are more trustworthy than the ears, they doubt of that which they do not see, and so He has deigned to show Himself in bodily presence, that He may remove all doubt.

Christ, finding the holy body and soul of the Virgin, builds for Himself a living temple, and as He had willed, formed there a man from the Virgin; and, putting Him on, this day came forth; unashamed of the lowliness of our nature’. For it was to Him no lowering to put on what He Himself had made. Let that handiwork be forever glorified, which became the cloak of its own Creator. For as in the first creation of flesh, man could not be made before the clay had come into His hand, so neither could this corruptible body be glorified, until it had first become the garment of its Maker.

What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infants bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness. For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.

Come, then, let us observe the Feast. Truly wondrous is the whole chronicle of the Nativity. For this day the ancient slavery is ended, the devil confounded, the demons take to flight, the power of death is broken, paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed from us, error driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused, and spreads on every side, a heavenly way of life has been ‘in planted on the earth, angels communicate with men without fear, and men now hold speech with angels.

Why is this? Because God is now on earth, and man in heaven; on every side all things commingle. He became Flesh. He did not become God. He was God. Wherefore He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven did not contain, a manger would this day receive. He was placed in a manger, so that He, by whom all things arc nourished, may receive an infant’s food from His Virgin Mother. So, the Father of all ages, as an infant at the breast, nestles in the virginal arms, that the Magi may more easily see Him. Since this day the Magi too have come, and made a beginning of withstanding tyranny; and the heavens give glory, as the Lord is revealed by a star.

To Him, then, Who out of confusion has wrought a clear path, to Christ, to the Father, and to the Holy Ghost, we offer all praise, now and for ever. Amen.

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A Christmas Thought By Gregory of Nazianzus (329 – 390)

Christ is born, glorify Him.

Christ from heaven, go out to meet Him.

Christ on earth, be exalted.
Sing to the Lord all the whole earth;

and that I may join both in one word, let the heavens rejoice,

and let the earth be glad, for Him who is of heaven and then of earth.

Christ in the flesh, rejoice with trembling and with joy;

with trembling because of your sins,

with joy because of your hope.

Come on in to hear more of this person of the ancient Church!

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