O Rex Gentium

The antiphon for 22nd December is O Rex Gentium (O King of Nations, or O King of the Gentiles):
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth! 

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti. 

Click here to hear it chanted.

The long awaited Messiah of the Jews comes as a king for all nations. In a reversal of the expected order of things, he did not conquor by force, nor was he born into a ruling family (though he is of royal lineage). At his first coming Christ had the humblest of beginnings: poverty, homelessness, feeble flesh; but in these last days before Christmas we are reminded of the last days before Advent, and the great feast of Christ the King. Advent is not just about a paint-the-nursery type of anticipation: it is also a season to raise an army. (This idea is wonderfully expressed in this rousing reflection by Msgr Charles Pope on dragons at Christmas.) We are preparing to celebrate the birth of a tiny baby more than two millenia ago on Christmas morning, but when we welcome this babe again we shall see him in his Glory. We shall know him as King. 

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