Here's an exceptionally well performed version of the hymn.
Young Adults: Read below to learn about a prayer gathering coming up this month. As long as I remember, I have loved singing at Mass. Even having been so fortunate to sing around the world with the Notre Dame Glee Club in college, I can still safely say there is no where I would be rather be singing than at Mass.
My favorite hymn has always been O Come, O Come Emmanuel, but reasons for its elite status have changed throughout the years. As a young boy, I thought it was awesome that the words “ransom” and “captive” where being sung in Mass. My mind immediately went to GI Joe and rescue missions. This song was the BEST! It has always been an easy tune for me to sing which meant I could sing it everywhere and I mean EV-ERY-WHERE: in the grocery store, on the playground, in the kitchen, at the dinner table, in the bathtub, while my parents put me to sleep and even when they woke me up. (The song must have gotten under their skin more than a few times.) Advent for them also included a hopeful countdown to when I would have to move on to a new tune.
Although my love for the song moved on from my GI Joe phase, it was not until college that I began to discover the source of my favorite hymn. O Come, O Come Emmanuel is rooted in the ‘O Antiphons,' a Church Tradition dating back to the eighth century. These Antiphons are said during Evening Prayer starting on December 17 and ending on December 23. Each day, the antiphons follow the same pattern. It begins with an invocation of the coming Messiah, and then a praise of Him according to the invocation. Then, each ends with a petition that is appropriate to the title used to address Him.
Finding out this rich tradition of the Church has truly deepened my preparations for Christmas. My wife, Alexa, and I have now incorporated these antiphons in a novena that we pray each year up until Christmas. Experiencing the fruit from this type of prayer, I encourage you to add this wonderful tradition of our Church to your Christmas preparation. Maybe light your advent wreath each night and sing a verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel and then recite the antiphon together. It doesn’t take a long time to stop and allow your heart to prepare for the coming of the Messiah this Christmas.
Young Adults and the O Antiphons: Here at St. Alphonsus we are inviting all young adults, those who are out of high school through age 35 or 40, to gather with us this upcoming Saturday, December 22 at 8 a.m. in the Reception Room inside the church. We will be having a short 20 to 30 minute prayer together as a young adult community while using the O Antiphons as our prayer that morning. Afterwards those who have time and would like to may join us for breakfast at a nearby establishment.
These Saturday morning prayer gatherings are something we are going to be doing more often as a Young Adult community - a chance to gather as a small community to pray together. We are often rushing about to visit family or accomplish errands, that it becomes even more important to stop and remember where our heart finds its true peace. Please join us on the Dec. 22. If you have any questions feel free to call me at 873-2885 ext. 501 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God bless you with a peaceful and fruitful Advent.