You may have all your Christmas shopping finished, but have you prepared your heart for the coming of the Christ child? It’s not too late! In the short time before Christmas we still have an opportunity to remember what Christmas is really about.
Now that we have reflected on the meaning of the O Antiphons, now it is time to deepen their meaning in our lives and in our hearts. How we do this can be motivated by the story of Martha and Mary in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 10:38-42). In this account we see a prayerful Mary and an active Martha. In reality, we have to imitate both Martha and Mary but as our Lord says, “Mary has taken the better part” (Luke 10:42). So we must be rooted in prayer, but then we must live this prayer out in our lives. The activities involving the O Antiphons thus embody both. So here’s my Mary and Martha List. The Mary List are prayerful reflections and the Martha List are activities you can do with your family and friends.
Mary List (Prayerful):
2. Pray the specific O Antiphon with the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55)
3. Lectio Divina with the O Antiphon for the Day
4. Do Adoration on Dec. 23rd to celebrate the Real Presence which is the True Emmanuel: “You look at the Cross and understand how much Jesus loved you then; you look at the Sacred Host and understand how much Jesus loves you now.”-Blessed Teresa of Kalkuta
5. Go to Mass
Martha List (Activities)
6. Song O Come O Come Emmanuel-sing the verse that matches up with the O Antiphon for the day after grace during dinner time
7. Different foods match up with each Messianic title for the day. For example:
- (Dec. 17) Wisdom can be chocolate since it is considered “brain food”
- (Dec. 18) Adonai/Lord can be a special bread like ginger as a realization for the Lord who comes to us as “the bread of life” (John 6)
- (Dec. 19) Radix Jesse/Jesse’s Stem-Cabbage
- (Dec. 20) Key of David-Fruit and whipped cream since fruits, vegetables, and calcium are the key to a healthy life and strong bones
- (Dec. 21) Radiant Dawn-Cookies as the radiant joy when served
- (Dec. 22) King of Nations-Grapes since it is the food for kings (fed like royalty)
- (Dec. 23) Same as Dec. 18 because in the Eucharist we realize Jesus is our Emmanuel
8. Include Scriptural verses from the Christmas story in your Christmas cards this year.
9. Go Christmas caroling in your neighborhood
10. Welcome new (and old) parishioners to Christmas Mass.
So in conclusion, in Advent let us allow Martha, Mary, and the O Antiphons to lead us in preparing our hearts for the coming of the baby Jesus. In this we can realize the joy of God’s activity in giving us Jesus, our Emmanuel.