Advent Mysteries - A Tolkienian Christmastide to All!
- Greetings, and Happy Advent!
In the Roman Catholic church, today marks the fifth day during
which the "O Antiphons" of Advent are sung at evening vespers. These
antiphons, seven in all, were the basis for the hymn "O Come O Come
Emmanuel", although the melody is very different.
Most importantly, the antiphon for today and tonight has tremendous significance to lovers of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth.
"O Oriens" in Latin ("O Dayspring", or "O Dawn" in English) translates to "éala éarendel" in Anglo-Saxon, which was the initial seed of Tolkien's entire Middle-earth legendarium. The opening line from this portion of the A-S "Crist" is:
éala éarendel engla beorhtast / ofer middangeard monnum sended
"Hail Earendel, brightest of angels,
sent over Middle-earth to men."
This line, and specifically the name "éarendel", was the basis for
Tolkien's 1914 poem "The Voyage of Eärendel the Evening Star", which
started him down the road toward writing the tales of "The Silmarillion", "The Children of Hurin", "The Hobbit", and ultimately "The Lord of the Rings".
Lorraine and I would like to wish all of our friends and family a
happy Advent, a glorious Christmastide, and a blessed New Year!
Nai Eru lye mánata ar tíra (God bless and watch thee)
Our priest has been having us sing sequentially one verse of Oh, come, oh come Emmanuel” as an entrance hymn each day at daily mass and then humming the melody of the song in place of another verse. He has been speaking of them as the “O” antiphons, but Jef’s explanation is very clear and much appreciated. Yes, today we heard the “Dayspring” verse and so really loved hearing about its relation to JRRT.
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