The words of the first great “O” Antiphons of Advent read:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other, mightily and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.
This antiphon is the first of seven ‘O’ antiphons (or ‘verses’) which were traditionally recited during vespers in the final days of Advent season. They were first referenced in the 6th Century but are likely to date back to the time of the early church. The antiphons refer to the prophecies of Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah. Each one begins with the interjection ‘O’ and refers to one of the names of Christ: O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, O key of David, O Dayspring, O King of the nations, O Emmanuel. O Wisdom will be sung by the choir at the beginning of our Carols by Candlelight service on Sunday 17th December.
The ‘O’ antiphons are just one of the many ways that Christians have marked the season of Advent down the ages. At St Giles’, the choir will sing Advent carols which are traditionally more sombre than Christmas carols but just as beautiful. We will be lighting a candle each week on our Advent wreath and the colour purple will be prominent, just as in the season of Lent.
These days, the word ‘Advent’ is probably associated more with sweetie-filled calendars rather than the church season of preparation which culminates in the birth of Jesus at Christmas. That’s not to say that sweeties are bad!
But if you want a little more substance and would like to learn more about this fascinating season of hope and expectation, do come and visit us. It may make your celebration of Christmas all the more sweet.
In addition to our regular services, Words and Music for Advent will take place on Sunday 3rd December at 6.30pm. Carols by Candlelight will take place on Sunday 17th December at 6.30pm.