Meditations in Antiphons for early Advent
by Lexiann Grant
Opposite speaking. That’s literally speaking Greek when you use the word “antiphon.”
“Antiphons are sentences preceding and succeeding…psalms and songs…They seem to answer the purpose of calling attention to what is coming,… They are repeated at the end, as if to fix the impression or the lesson intended,” wrote theologian John Henry Newman in 1840.
Later appointed a Cardinal, Newman additionally said, “Antiphons are not, strictly speaking, prayers, but sentences applied to the particular purpose of meditation, and thanksgiving.”
In the last seven days before Christmas Eve, eight if you’re Anglican, the Great O Antiphons are traditionally used during Morning or Evening Prayer, one per day.
Until we get to December 16th or 17th, my offering for your meditations today are Advent antiphons I wrote in poetic form, as well as some lesser known verses from Advent hymns.
too warm for winter
hate & dislike
in the Season
amidst the dark
Joyful Blessed Be.
in the Name.
over furthest ridge;
Frost set afire in forested trees –
around the corner
between each breath
“Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus now appear;
Arise thou Sun so longed for,
O’er this benighted sphere!”
from vs 4, Laurentius Laurenti, translation S.B.Findlater
“The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings:
Hail, Christ the Lord! Thy people pray,
Come quickly, King of kings”
Hymns of the Russian Church, translated John Brownlie
“You came forth from the eternal God,
and you returned to that same source,…
With God the Father you are one,
and one with us in human flesh,…
Your cradle shines with glory’s light;
its splendor pierces all our gloom…
all praise to you, eternal Word,
all praise, life-giving Spirit praise,”
from Veni Redemptor gentium, plainsong, Ambrose of Milan
For more reading of the history of the upcoming O antiphons, see:
Lexiann Grant is a retired writer & author, a former chalicer and layreader, but still an Episcopalian who enjoys encountering God in the mountain backcountry.
Copyrights to “Adventipation” and “Antiphon” are held by the author; please request permission to reprint.