23rd December – O Emmanuel!


We reach the last of the seven O Antiphons and the final day before the Christmas celebrations begin tomorrow – Christmas Eve.

The previous six titles or metaphors for the coming Christ culminate in this name – Emmanuel – “God with us.”

As we prepare for Christmas celebration, we grapple with the present reality as Omicron-Covid sweeps through our population. This virulent virus is with us.


Yet each of the O Antiphons affirms a far wider reality.

Christ – Creator King of the Nations – is higher than every aspect of creation – even a deadly virus.

Remarkably, God chose to be for us – Emmanuel – “God with us”

The Catholic Church celebrates four different liturgies, each with a different set of readings, on Christmas Eve and Day.

The gospel for the Nativity of the Lord – Mass during the day, elegantly tells the story of creation:

2Long ago, in the time before all days, before the creation of all things, the one who is known as the Word was there face to face with the Great Spirit.

This Word fully represents Creator and shows us who he is and what he is like.

He has always been there from the beginning, for the Word and Creator are one and the same.

3Through the Word all things came into being, and not one thing exists that he did not create…

14Creator’s Word became a flesh-and-blood human being and pitched his sacred tent among us, living as one of us.

M. Wildman, Terry. First Nations Version (p. 164). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.


It’s not an Advent carol, but surely a song for today as we anxiously look to the celebration of Christmas:


The final Advent Carol I’ll feature sounds like it was composed centuries ago. Perhaps surprisingly, is was written less than 100 years ago by Eleanor Farjeon (d. 1965).

I place the full lyrics here to this little song as I love the deeply hopeful imagery.

And Love as guest, rose, bird, star and Lord is fabulous!

1. People, look east. The time is near 
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.




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