Our Final Christmas Countdown
We count down the final days of Advent using the traditional monastic antiphons to the Magnificat. Most of English speaking Christendom knows these antiphons through their versification, Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel. Beginning in eternity, the antiphons follow a rough chronology through history until the coming of Immanuel, Hebrew for “God [is] with Us” (see Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23)
Thus, the first stanza that we normally sing of the hymn is actually the last of the antiphons, sung on 23 December. By Vespers on the 24th, it’s time to remove the final vestiges of Advent and enter into Christmas.