O Antiphons: O Key of David . . . free us


December 20
O Clavis David (Isaiah 9:6; 22:22):
“O key of David and scepter of Israel, what you open no one else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”


From Diane Thrush

Hope is in short supply for many people at this time of year. All around are glittering objects and pressure to celebrate and be happy. But many are held captive in prisons, literally and figuratively. Many are living in darkness and in the shadow of death. What is one to do when it seems as if they are drowning in life’s circumstances?

O key of David, Emmanuel, God with us, is our hope. At no other season of the church year do we hear such proclamations of hope than in the season of Advent. Good thing, too, as secular Christmas tightens its noose around our necks. We have a God who promises us hope at this time of year. As light appears to be disappearing and darkness wraps around us, we have the rich words of scripture to fill us with hope.   Hope is where our trust in Jesus leads us. Our Lord is coming – soon – and again.

From a meditation attributed to St. Ambrose:

“Lord Jesus Christ, you are for me medicine when I am sick; you are my strength when I need help; you are life itself when I fear death; you are the way when I long for heaven; you are light when all is dark, you are my food when I need nourishment.”


Diane Thrush is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio TX. Reach her at dianewt@aol.com.

Photography by the Rev. Doug Earle. See more of Doug’s work at Www.DougEarlePhotography.com.


The well-known Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel recalls the prophet Isaiah’s several descriptions of the coming Messiah. During the seventh and eighth centuries, these descriptions were compiled into antiphons and were recited before and after the Magnificat during Vespers or Evening Prayer for the seven evenings preceding Christmas.

We present these O Antiphons from December 17 to December 23 along with meditations from writers across the diocese and the photography of the Rev. Doug Earle.

For more about the O Antiphons click here.

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