O – Indaba
The antiphons encourage us to look forward to the coming of Christ in Glory, the coming of the Babe in Bethlehem and the presence of Christ with us in the here and now. At the heart of Continuing Indaba there is an echo of this Advent journey. The posts on this blog in the run up to Christmas will draw on the antiphons and the prophecies related to each and will reflect on how we might live out this journey.
The crossover between Advent and Christmas is marked by the emphasis moving from the expectation of the coming of Christ at the end of time to the expectation of the birth of a babe in Bethlehem. The last week of Advent is marked by the O Antiphons. These have been used differently in different traditions through the ages but are commonly used during Evening Prayer with the Magnificat – the Song of Mary.
The antiphons are prayers which reflect on the messianic promises proclaimed by the ancient prophets of Israel. They give a sense of eager expectation that builds throughout these seven days and climaxes at Christmas. The antiphons play out the Advent paradox of the three comings of Christ as described by Bernard of Claivaux:
it is like a road on which we travel from the first coming to the last. In the first, Christ was our redemption; in the last, he will appear as our life; in this middle coming, he is our rest and consolation.
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