Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sing Christmas: Dec 13

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
"All hail," said he, "thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

"For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honour thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said,
"my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name."
Most highly favoured lady, Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ, was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say--
"Most highly favoured lady," Gloria!

traditional Basque carol, paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould 1834-1924 

 Sabine Baring-Gould was a Devonshire vicar and prolific collector of folk songs, dances and traditions mainly from the West Country. This carol, however, was a paraphrase of a carol from the Basque country (Northern Spain), collected by Charles Bordes.

The carol celebrates the moment in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 1.26-38) when Mary is told that she will become the mother of the Messiah, the long promised saviour whom the Jewish people looked for and believed God would send to them.
It has been a favourite scene for artists over the centuries, and in their various depictions Mary seems to respond with every emotion possible, from joyful welcome to absolute terror.
In the carol, Mary’s response is one of humble acceptance. We don’t know how she feels. We don’t know whether she is worried or overwhelmed. “To me be as it pleaseth God” is her answer. She seems to have an absolute trust that if it seems good to God, it will be good. In fact, she will have agony to face as well as joy as her child grows, teaches and eventually dies, so this trust in God will be something she needs to call on often.

·         Have you ever been chosen for something that seemed daunting?
·         Have you ever not been chosen for something you felt you should be?
·         Have there been things you’ve had to face which were not of your choosing? How did you cope?

Bible Reading: “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for your welfare,not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29.11


  1. Molehil9:16 am

    A lot to think about with the questions with this Carol this morning . I really love this one - brings back memories of singing in the choir and the children singing "most highly flavoured gravy" ! Is this the same Baring-Gould who wrote Now the day is over and Onward Christian Soldiers?

  2. It is indeed the very same man. He was born in Exeter, like me, in the neighbouring parish to mine, so I think I should be able to claim a bit of reflected glory. There is a lot more about him here,
    I wondered whether anyone would contribute the "highly flavoured gravy" line - anyone who sings in a church choir will have sung it at some point... Once you have it in your head you can never quite forget it!