The Lauds Antiphons for Christmas Day and Week begin with an amazing question: “Whom did you see, shepherds?”
The drama of the text is heightened as a second question follows. “Speak: Announce to us who has appeared on the earth?” Then the answer comes from all the shepherds, “We have seen the newborn One, and choirs of angels praising God together, alleluia, alleluia”.
This wonderful bit of dialogue puts us right in the scene! Can we possibly imagine the joy, excitement and wonder in the faces and voices of the shepherds, returning from their visit to the Bethlehem stable?
The antiphon is a simple one: 4 notes in Mode 2, which are repeated and give a “conversational ” quality to the tune, illuminating the dialogue.