Since the middle ages, they’ve been said or sung at evening prayer, one each per evening, the seven days leading up to Christmas eve. They are a plea to God from His people to send the Messiah and save them.
Each verse highlights a title of the Messiah and a prophecy from Isaiah:
O Sapientia (O Wisdom),
O Adonai (O Lord),
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),
O Clavis David (O Key of David),
O Oriens (O Rising Sun),
O Rex Gentium (O King of the Gentiles), and
O Emmanuel (O God-with-us).
What’s cool is what you can see when you get to Christmas eve! You’ve just sung “O Emmanuel” (O “God with us”). You look back at the verses you’ve sung each day the previous week, and if you read the first letter of each verse (in Latin), you see the letters formed:
Er o C r a s
Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia which mean:
“Tomorrow, I will come.”
To hear these beautiful prayers chanted in Latin, CLICK HERE.