Making space in Advent

Article and artwork by Christine Campbell, second year ordinand.

How do you make space for Advent as an ordinand?

Although term finished near the beginning of Advent, many of us still have essays to write, church placements to experience and every growing piles of books to read. The days of December seem to speed past in a blur and as an ordinand with a family, I have particularly found myself dashing around, trying to fit online shopping, school events and visiting relatives in the time between working on assignments. I am sure I am not the only one who realises the irony of talking to those in the congregation about making space to reflect during advent, whilst finding no time to do the same myself.

So with ten days to go until Christmas, I enforced a ‘Quiet Day’ at home. I started with an advent reading; this year I have chosen Magdalen Smith’s Unearthly Beauty: Through Advent with the Saints. Then I reflected on the O Antiphons (see below) through art, whilst listening to And Comes The Day (Carols And Antiphons For Advent) by the Choir of Queen’s College, Cambridge. This was the result.

Painting depicting the imagery of the O Antiphons

The O Antiphons have been used since the time of the early church, in the 7 days running up to Christmas Eve. They are traditionally sung during vespers and each antiphon refers to a title used to describe the Messiah and to an old testament prophecy about Him. They are;

17th December – O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

18th December –  O Adonai (O Lord)

19th December – O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)

20th December – O Clavis David (O Key of David)

21st December – O Oriens (O Rising Sun)

22nd December- O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)

23rd December – O Emmanuel (O God with Us)

For more information:

Church of England usage of the antiphons can be found here;

Malcolm Guite’s wonderful explanation of the antiphons;