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 holds tremendous significance for 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 Anglo-Saxon 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 Húrin, 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)