O Antiphon Ideas for Catholic Families- An Advent Tradition

The great thing about the O Antiphons is, they don’t start until December 17! That means even if you missed the boat with an Advent wreath or a Jesse tree, you’ve still got time for this! :-)

If you’re not familiar with the O Antiphons, or even if you are, I suggest that you read my page all about the O Antiphons before moving on. I want to be very clear that the O Antiphons are not like the Jesse tree in that the focus is not about having a “thing” where you move or hang something every day to celebrate these. However, a lot of people around blog-land have really cool things they’ve made that I would compare to a Jesse tree in that way. That’s a neat idea because you only have to build it once, and you would have it year after year. Here are some of my favorites.

o antiphon crafts and printables O Antiphon Crafts

O Antiphon Printable Prayers

  • This O Antiphon prayer companion is free to print, and is absolutely beautiful! (Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the post for the links. Even thought it says “updated 2012″, it’s good for every year.

O Come O Come Emmanuel- Printable Lyrics

Also, you can find all of my Advent and Christmas resources for Catholic families here.

The Advent Christmas Planner- available from Catholic Icing

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What Are The O Antiphons? – Learning About A Catholic Advent Tradition

The O Antiphons are rich with meaning and make a truly wonderful Catholic tradition!  I’m going to put the roots of them in a nutshell for you (as much as I can).

Why they are called the “O Antiphons”all about the o antiphons

Each night for the octave (8 days) before Christmas, we ask Christ to come, and call him by a different name. Each of these names starts with “O”, such as “O Come O Come Emmanuel”. An antiphon is a liturgical composition, and they are traditionally sung. Therefore, they are called the O Antiphons.

When do the O Antiphons start?

The O Antiphons start on Dec 17 and run through Dec 24. This time is known as the “second part of Advent” or “The Golden Nights.” The O Antiphons are taken from the Liturgy of the Hours (specifically, evening prayers, or “vespers”). So because they are traditionally said in the evening, there is not one for Dec 24 because the evening on Christmas Eve is already the vigil of Christmas, so we are no longer waiting.

What do the O Antiphons mean?

The O Antiphons get across 2 messages: each one highlights a different title for the Messiah (listed below), and each one refers to the prophecy of the Messiah from Isaiah.

  • Dec 17: O Sapientia (Wisdom)
  • Dec 18: O Adonai (Lord and Ruler)
  • Dec 19: O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
  • Dec 20: O Clavis David (Key of David)
  • Dec 21: O Oriens (Dawn of the East)
  • Dec 22: O Rex Gentium (King of the Gentiles)
  • Dec 23: O Emmanuel (God With Us)

If you take the first letter of each name and write them backwards, you get “ERO CRAS.” This means “Tomorrow, I will Come” in Latin. So that’s why you see that written in a lot of places with the O Antiphons.

To find a list of O Antiphon crafts, activities, coloring pages, printables, and prayers, check out my O Antiphon resource page.

Also, you can find all of my Advent and Christmas resources for Catholic families here.

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Food Ideas for O Antiphons

I know we’re already one day into the O Antiphons now, (they start December 17), but Catholic Cuisine has an AMAZING post about different foods to make for each of the O Antiphons, starting with these little books for “Wisdom”.

Jessica has also provided a free printable with each O Antiphon to attach to gold coins. So simple and elegant! Click over to check it out.

O Antiphons Printable Prayer Companion

Hurry over to O Night Divine to get an amazing prayer companion that you can print for free! The O Antiphons start on December 17- check your calendars, that’s today! Go print it now- you still have time!

Here’s an example of one of the pages.
They all include beautiful pictures!

My favorite thing about this download? It includes the lyrics to “O Come O Come Emmanuel” on each appropriate day. Yay for making things easy! :-)