Beginning tonight, and ending on December 23rd, we will use this little homemade house to recall the seven O Antiphons ...
"There are seven short verses sung before the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Church on the seven days before the vigil of Christmas. They each begin with the exclamation "O". Each of them ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes more urgent.
The antiphons were composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament which looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich mosaic of scriptural images." (from Catholic Online)
I love it when things that have always been right there under my nose come into full light. (Thank you Katherine and Jenn for introducing me to this lovely tradition!) It was neat today at Mass when we heard the familiar and beautiful hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and realized right there in the stanzas were the seven O Antiphons! I pointed them out to Bookworm and we both said, "A-ha!"
Our House is not made of wood, but rather of various forms of paper. Basically, I used what I had on hand. (Though I truly love all the wooden reprentations I've seen!) The materials I had were ones I had bought in hopes of constructing a homemade Advent calendar this year. (I had a shooting star theme in mind, but it never came to be - maybe next year!) Luckily I held on to the miniature boxes, golden posterboard, thin golden ribbon and stickers ...
Of course I tweaked the whole craft as I went, modifying here and there. The "O" base was to be a cardboard letter base, but after painting it last night, the cardboard warped under the coat of paint. Since I wanted it to lie flat, and hang on the wall, this was not a good thing. Then I remembered the golden posterboard I had tucked away! I just traced the purple O onto the posterboard and cut out the resulting shape. I found a pretty nativity scene online, printed it out, cut it to fit inside the O and backed the whole shape with a piece of purple construction paper.
Next I turned my attention to the small boxes. Around the edge of each lid I glued a thin golden ribbon; to the top I adhered a small purple star and a golden number sticker. Inside each box is a small label with the title and symbol of the day's O Antiphon: Wisdsom, Lord and Ruler, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Radiant Dawn, King of the Gentiles, and Emmanuel.
A small scroll fastened with a sticker holds that evening's prayer. As each day is opened, the lid will be left off revealing at last, come Christmas, the seven O Antiphons, the seven titles of the Messiah, at one glance.
I am so glad I took the time to do this. The craft itself was simple to construct, and the activity adds another layer to our Advent celebrations - a new and deeper understanding of this beautiful time of year.