Written by Daniel Hazard
"…the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace."
Reflection by Quinn G. Caldwell
If you haven't sung "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" yet this year, chances are you're about to. When you do, if you read the little blurb at the bottom of the hymnal page, you'll probably see that the song is based on the seven great "O antiphons," a series of responses sung in the days leading up to Christmas in the early church, and in many places still today. One of them, O Oriens ("dayspring" or "rising sun"), comes in part from today's passage from Luke…though here Zechariah is referring to Isaiah as well.
The Latin names of the seven antiphons, each from the Bible and each applied to Jesus by later thinkers, are:
• Radix Jesse
• Clavis David
• Rex Gentium
Read the first letters backwards, and you get the words "ero cras," loosely translated just in time for Advent as, "Tomorrow, I come." Which is fun.
But here's something even more fun, at least for early risers, Bible nerds, and the ambitious: whoever replies to this devotional first with the Scriptures from which these titles derive (you only need one, though sometimes there are multiple options) and their English translations will win for their church 25 copies of the upcoming Stillspeaking Writers' Group's print Lent Devotional booklet, "Spring Cleaning." The winner will be announced Monday morning on our Facebook page.
Lord, help me win this contest. And if not that, at least let me learn something. Amen.
Join Donna Schaper tonight, Dec. 9, 6 p.m. EST on weekly web program Darkwood Brew, in their special Advent series based on Hark!