"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:5
Scripture reveals so much to us about the nature of Our Savior. Sometimes I like to sit with the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus and just skim the titles until one strikes me and I stop and let it speak to my heart. Who is this man? And if this is who He is, then who am I? If He is the God-Hero, what do I need to be saved from? If He is the Father-Forever, in what areas of my life do I need a consistent father figure?
Our Church, in its wisdom, has given us a beautiful tradition of meditating on the Names of Jesus through the recitation of the O Antiphons on the few days leading up to Christmas. Sometimes it is difficult for us to put into words the anticipation and hope we are feeling. The ancient prophets of Israel give us the language we need in the O Antiphons. The promises of the prophets are rich and reveal the nature of Jesus Christ to us.
With each O Antiphon, we meditate upon seven significant titles of the Messiah. We recall his faithfulness to the ancient people. The titles attributed to Jesus are: Wisdom, Ruler of the House of Israel (Adonai), Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of the Gentiles, and Emmanuel.
If you take the first letter of each title beginning with the last one, and read them from last-to-first, it spells Ero Cras in Latin, which means, “Tomorrow I will be there.”
The O Antiphons are prayed from December 17-December 23. You will recognize them as verses to the song, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”
Sit with each title of Jesus and see who He is to you. What does this title say about His character? Who is this man who has set us free? You might find yourself pondering and having a fruitful prayer time with just the title. (Example: O Key of David What does it mean that He is a key? What do keys do? What is He unlocking? What do I need Him to unlock?)
Once you have pondered the title, read the verse below it and see which words strike you. How are these words a message of hope for you? The additional Scripture passages are optional and can bring more insight about the titles of Jesus.
December 17: O Wisdom
O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love; come to teach us the path of knowledge.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
December 18: O House of Israel
O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai; come to rescue us with your mighty power!
December 19: O Root of Jesse
O Root of Jesse’s stem, sign of God’s love for all his people: come to save us without delay!
December 20: O Key of David
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: come and free the prisoners of darkness!
Psalms 107:10, 14
December 21: O Radiant Dawn
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
December 22: O King of All Nations
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church: come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
December 23: O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!
December 24: "Tomorrow I will be there"
My prayer for you is that the Prince of Peace reveals Himself to you and fills you with joy and hope over the next few days.
If you'd like to learn more about Biblical History and the significance of these titles, check out this podcast series by Sonja Corbitt.