Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Great O Antiphons, The Golden Nights

Ever since our oldest children were very little, we have been implementing an old monastic custom in our home by providing special treats, representing each of the "O Antiphons" on the days leading up to Christmas. The O Antiphon prayers begin on December 17th and end on the 23rd, which is the last Vespers of Advent, since the evening prayer on the 24th is the Vigil of Christmas.
The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Each night, following our family rosary, we pray the O Antiphon for the day, sing O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, which was inspired by this ancient tradition, and then give the children a special treat. 

The "treats" have varied from year to year. Some years it has been little gifts or activities for the family, some years it is all food related, and some years it is a mix of both, depending on our schedule and budget. It doesn't need to cost much or even anything at all! Be creative!

Sometimes the treats are a bit of a stretch, but my goal is try and find gifts that will either help increase our faith (Catechism books, holy family, saints, prayer, etc) or encourage family time (games, puzzles, going to look at Christmas lights, etc). You can find some of our past O Antiphon treats by scrolling through the archives and visiting Catholic Cuisine.

Our family loves this tradition. It is such a fun way to teach the children about these beautiful prayers of the church and also increase their excitement as Christmas gets closer.

In case you are looking for some inspiration, I've listed some of the treats I've given my family over the years (along with my picks for this year)... Special food ideas, activities and gifts (or you can simply decorate chocolate coins!) for each of the O Antiphons can be found below. 

Once again I am hosting an O ANTIPHON GIVEAWAY! One lucky visitor here at Shower of Roses will receive a gift package including seven Cookie Stamps, one to represent each of the seven O Antiphons! I also have a sweet hand-painted nativity set to give away as well. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the details and to enter.

.: December 17th - O Sapientia (O Wisdom) :.
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Since the symbol for wisdom is a book, I usually choose a new Catholic book for our family. This year I went with a game focusing on the time period most of our children are currently studying. Looks fun!

A Few Ideas: 

.: December 18th - O Adonai (O Lord) :.
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

In the past we would always emphasize the word "house" in this Antiphon, and have made our Gingerbread Houses or Gingerbread Cookies on this night.  Now that we have two birthdays this week (and two birthday cakes to bake and decorate!) we usually wait until Christmas Eve, or sometime during the 12 Days of Christmas to decorated Gingerbread Houses, but I have more of these delicious Gingerbread House Cookies (made with this cookie cutter) from the birthday party yesterday that are all ready to decorate along with some Pre-Built Tiny Homes!

A Few Ideas: 

.: December 19th - O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) :.
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

Our 2020 Family Ornament is wrapped up for the 19th. 
Now to see if we can manage to get a family picture to add to it this year!

This year the birthday boy choose a Hobbit Theme Birthday! This gives me so many additional options, but it's also Ember Saturday so that makes it challenging...  I'll include meat at the main meal and probably keep treats to a minimum so it's not too tempting for those of us who will be fasting. Roasted Root Veggies, Root Beer, and a small Hobbit Hole Birthday Cake are on the menu. 

A Few Ideas:

.: December 20th - O Clavis David (O Key of David) :.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Christmas Jingle Bells! I was gifted with a set of these from Pinecone Leather Co this year. 
(I love the description over on Etsy sharing their family's tradition.) 
I also have a Key Lime Pie and some Sparkling Ciders to pull out and enjoy after our Sunday dinner.

A Few Ideas:

.: December 21st - O Oriens (O Dayspring) :.
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

I'll give them all their new Christmas pj's and make hot cocoa too. 

A Few Ideas:

.: December 22nd - O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles) :.
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

A Few Ideas:

.: December 23rd - O Emmanuel (O With Us is God) :.
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Nativity Icon from Clear Creek Abbey

A Few Ideas:


Win a Set of Cookie Stamps
Here are the cookie stamps I picked out to go along with each of the O Antiphons.
The winner will receive one of each!

Wisdom: #460 – Triune God
House: #214 – Home Sweet Home
Root of Jesse: #520 – Willow Tree
Key of David: #543 – Key to My Heart
Dayspring: #291 – Moravian Star
King: #448 – Norwegian Wedding Crown
Emmanuel: #368 – Nativity

Sponsored by Rycraft Cookie Stamps
(7 cookie stamps with recipe booklet @ $12.99 ea = $90.93 value)

Enter the Giveaway using the Rafflecopter Box below: 

Read more about our family's traditions here:


  1. Thank you!

    2020-12-17 18:30:30

  2. You celebrate the feasts in the most beautiful way.

    2020-12-17 18:40:41

  3. I enjoy reading about your celebrations.

    2020-12-17 19:24:01

  4. Thank you for sharing your "Wisdom"!

    2020-12-17 19:30:10

  5. Always love your ideas and I’m always amazed and inspired!

    2020-12-17 19:45:37

  6. Love the Christmas morning bell tradition!!! Will have to get a set.

    2020-12-17 20:43:22

  7. Thanks!

    2020-12-17 21:21:57

  8. I love how you write 'a few ideas' and then list a TON of ideas. 😂👍

    2020-12-17 21:32:07

    1. Hahahaha! I think I have a tendency to go 'a little' overboard with everything... 😉

      2020-12-17 23:20:50

  9. Come, O Wisdom! And thank you Jessica!!

    2020-12-17 21:38:10

  10. What lovely ideas. Thank you for the opportunity to win such a wonderful prize as well!

    2020-12-17 22:01:14

  11. I love those cookie stamps! As always thank you for sharing your traditions!

    2020-12-17 22:02:42


  12. Thank you for sharing! My girls and I love the cookie stamps!

    2020-12-17 22:05:11

  13. Thank you for this giveaway! We are celebrating O Antiphons for the first time this year!

    2020-12-17 22:16:58

  14. Awesome post! Thank you for sharing:)

    2020-12-17 23:09:44

  15. I am looking forward to implementing a similar tradition in our home!

    2020-12-18 00:02:20

  16. Did you find that house somewhere, or did you use an old Melissa and Doug product?

    2020-12-18 00:06:48

    1. I actually purchased it at Michael's 10+ years ago, painted it purple and then decorated it to go along with our blocks.

      2020-12-18 03:52:08

  17. This might be helpful in explaining the history and significance: The arrangement of them with the first letters of the Latin versions spelling "Ero Cras" is an interesting side note about them. This link has a lot of info and resources too: I hope that helps. God bless you and your family too!

    2020-12-18 04:15:01

  18. Those stamps are beautiful! I forgot about planning activities for the O Antiphons, thank you!

    2020-12-18 00:13:31

  19. I love celebrating the O Antiphons and always direct others to your blog for great resources. I am confused...why would one read the O Antiphons backwards and start with the last O Antiphon and the first letter? Is there a meaning of observing them all and then looking at the last O Antiphon (the first letter)? I want to explain it to my husband/children and am mostly confused on that part. God Bless!

    2020-12-18 00:13:42

  20. Mary Rosaleen TurnerFebruary 9, 2022 at 10:46 AM

    Wow, I’m always so impressed with how organized you are with all these things! It’s a lot to keep up with!

    2020-12-18 00:34:45

  21. Thank you for all the ideas!

    2020-12-18 01:20:29

  22. What a fantastic tradition! I’m inspired!

    2020-12-18 02:21:09

  23. I cannot believe we are here already! I love the O Antiphons, but we aren't very good about traditions around them. Thanks for the giveaway!

    2020-12-18 02:24:21

  24. Thank you!

    2020-12-18 03:40:43

  25. So inspired by your family and the ways you live out our faith! I come back every Advent for the Christmas Rose novena...

    2020-12-18 04:35:57

  26. Thank you for the amazing ideas and lovely giveaway!

    2020-12-18 05:02:01

  27. I love reading your blog and have been for years. I made the O Antiphon house too after you first posted and it’s sitting on our buffet but I forgot they start tonight! Thank you for the reminder and inspiration.

    2020-12-18 09:29:44

  28. We had our fig Newton Bibles yesterday. Thank you for helping our family start on this tradition too!

    2020-12-18 13:07:41

  29. Such great ideas!

    2020-12-18 14:06:43

  30. I look forward to all your blog posts. Thank you for sharing all your great ideas!

    2020-12-18 14:30:40

  31. I love this! It is shared on our parish FB page. You are amazing!

    2020-12-18 15:01:11

  32. I LOVE that you do so many giveaways!! We have not won anything yet ... but I'm keeping my fingers crossed !! Thank you once again for a wonderful post and a good giveaway !! Praying for you and your family! God Bless!!

    2020-12-18 15:34:05

  33. Our favorite advent tradition! Thank you for sharing Jessica!

    2020-12-18 15:53:10

  34. We are trying to incorporate this fun tradition this year. Sharing with friends via email

    2020-12-18 16:24:01

  35. Thank you so much!!!!

    2020-12-18 17:08:35

  36. Such a beautiful tradition in our beautiful Faith! Thank you for yet another awesome giveaway! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    2020-12-18 17:35:15

  37. Thanks!

    2020-12-18 18:18:42

  38. Thank you!! Love this!

    2020-12-18 18:20:08

  39. So lovely! Thank you for sharing all these great ideas!

    2020-12-18 19:19:35

  40. We are starting this tradition this year! Keeping it simple and just learning about them but looking forward to incorporating treats in the future.

    2020-12-18 19:21:15

  41. Thank You for this lovely giveaway. I love the tradition. You always make everything so special for your family. God Bless. Marion

    2020-12-18 20:00:31

  42. Thank you for sharing your great ideas! Right now we just celebrate the O Antiphons with a short reading each day.

    2020-12-18 20:04:36

  43. I love all of these ideas, thank you for sharing them! Have a blessed remainder of Advent!

    2020-12-18 23:52:40

  44. My girls love to read your blog, thank you for hosting this give away.

    2020-12-19 00:30:23

  45. Thank you for this post!

    2020-12-19 03:12:20

  46. Thank you for another great giveaway!

    2020-12-19 04:07:38

  47. What a beautiful family tradition!

    2020-12-19 06:52:44

  48. I am so in awe of what you have come up with throughout the years. Thank you for sharing such wonderful ideas!

    2020-12-19 11:34:56

  49. Who knew there were o antiphone cookie stamps! Love it!

    2020-12-19 13:01:57

  50. Just started incorporating the "O Antiphons" into our family this year! Love the ideas!

    2020-12-20 01:59:58

  51. This is our first year doing the treats. Thank you for the ideas! Our house is being remodeled and everything is chaos, so the Advent projects and activities are our only constant. The addition of treats to the O Antiphons has been a huge blessing!

    2020-12-20 12:26:48


  52. Thank you for the lovely ideas. We are a little late getting started but I'm going to jump on board for the last few days.

    2020-12-20 16:45:05

  53. Amazing number of ideas! Love your blog! Inspirational!

    2020-12-20 20:07:58

  54. Thank you so much for taking the time to compile all this. It’s super informative, motivating and inspired. May God reward your generosity...

    2020-12-20 20:18:58

  55. Love your giveaways! I've been thinking about getting the cookie stamps for a while now. We'll see how I do with this giveaway. Thank you and have a blessed Advent!

    2020-12-21 05:31:21

  56. These are such great ideas, thank you for sharing!

    2020-12-21 14:28:57

  57. The O Antiphons are one of our very favorite traditions!

    2020-12-21 22:39:45

  58. Made a mimic of your blocks a few years back and my kids still love pulling them out...maybe because they know it means Christmas is very close!

    2020-12-21 23:27:20

  59. We learned about the O Antiphons from you years back, and greatly appreciate all of the liturgical year ideas you provide us. Merry and Blessed Christmas to your beautiful family.

    2020-12-23 14:06:15

  60. Wonderful celebrations and traditions.

    2020-12-24 06:22:14


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