The seven days of Advent leading up to Christmas Eve and the proper celebration of Christmas are sometimes called the "Golden Nights" and are marked with an additional set of prayers in the Vespers (Evening Prayer) service. These prayers are sometimes called the "O Antiphons" because of how they begin and mark a crescendo from the patient waiting of the previous weeks of Advent to a fervent expectation of the imminence of the coming of Christ.
The prayers all address Jesus with a title given by the prophet Isaiah and serve to deliberately connect Jesus with these Old Testament prophesies. That these prayers were carefully crafted to heighten our anticipation of Jesus' coming is plain from the fact that the titles used in the prayers, taken backwards, spell out the acrostic "ERO CRAS," which in Latin means, "Tomorrow I am coming." Specifically:
Sapientia - Wisdom (17 December)
Adonai - My Lord (18 December)
Radix Jesse - Root of Jesse (19 December)
Clavis David - Key of David (20 December)
Oriens - Dawn / Dayspring (21 December)
Rex Gentium - King of the Gentiles (Nations) (22 December)
Emmanuel - God with Us (23 December)
To enhance our prayers through the remainder of this Advent season, I will be posting each of the Antiphons and their scripture basis over the coming days with links directly to them above from the date.
Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash