O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,

the hope of the nations and their Savior:

Come and save us, O Lord our God.

On December 23, 2020, the seventh and final O Antiphon climaxes these pleas for deliverance. As if to augment Yahweh’s power even more, previously used Messianic titles are added to Emmanuel, found in Isaiah 7:14.  

Emmanuel, a prophetic name meaning God-with-us, first appeared in the prophecy of Isaiah, 736 BCE, when enemies of the Judean King Ahaz sought to destroy Jerusalem…the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Emmanuel—A mysterious prophecy that still seizes the imaginations of believers, an intimacy that whispers in all life forms.

Yet, how access this power to waylay enemies, wherever discovered? Evil is real; ancient Israelites as well as ourselves have aways needed guidance and protection.  On our own, this is impossible.

Again, the imperatives, Come and save us, conclude this O Antiphon and prepare us for the celebration of the full Christmas mysteries.

But many will ask where does Jesus of Nazareth fit into the O Antiphons, composed through the purview of an anonymous Benedictine monk. Why weren’t references made to this Savior in these little studies? Certainly, I wanted to include them and do see His influence at work in them. In my perception, though, the fiery impact from many Christian churches has cooled, their crèches scenes filled with too much straw.

Only when I began to practice Twelve-Step living with its daily disciplines of mind and heart did I begin to understand the narrow path of Gospel-living and its Author. We need no other.

Indeed, God is intimately with us—that never changes.