O Come O Come Emmanuel

On Monday, one of our brothers introduced prayer by saying, “Since it is now December 17, we will begin morning prayer with O Come O Come Emmanuel,” to which another brother said, “Which is the ONLY time that this song should be sung. None of this ‘first week of Advent’ stuff.” At least two people rolled their eyes and said, “yes, we know how you feel.”

We have interesting communal prayers in our house…

Who knew that even the classic Advent hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel” could be controversial? For some, it is a very serious issue, one with strict rules and strong opinions. For others, it’s just a great Advent hymn that should be sung in the same way that people vote in Chicago: early and often.

So what’s the big deal? Why do some think that the song is meant for only one week of the year and others think it can be sung all throughout Advent? Well, it has everything to do with the origins of its source material, the O Antiphons. This week on Catholicism In Focus, I explain what they are and how they relate to the beloved hymn.


Unfortunately, this episode will be the final one of the year! I’m on vacation with my family for the next few weeks, but will be back in January with more episodes. Have a Merry Christmas!

One Comment on “O Come O Come Emmanuel

  1. Terrific message to end the year! I always like the song and dont see a problem singing it all Advent . But now I know about the O Antiphons ! Have a great Christmas with your family and friends and may you be blessed with good health and joy in the new year !

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