Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 16

Madonna and Child c. 1340-45, by Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

A Hymn to the Virgin
Anonymous, c. 1300, with music by Benjamin Britten
performed by The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge

Of on that is so fayr and bright
Velut maris stella,
Brighter than the day is light,
Parens et puella:
Ic crie to the, thou see to me,
Levedy, preye thi Sone for me,
Tam pia,
That ic mote come to thee
Al this world was for-lore
Eva peccatrice,
Tyl our Lord was y-bore
De te genetrice.
With ave it went away
Thuster nyth and comz the day
The welle springeth ut of the,
Levedy, flour of alle thing,
Rose sine spina,
Thu bere Jhesu, hevene king,
Gratia divina:
Of alle thu ber'st the pris,
Levedy, quene of paradys
Mayde milde, moder es

Several years ago, I was very fortunate to have been contacted by a lovely lady who had been reading my blog, and listening to the Christmas carols. We enjoyed a lively correspondence that Christmas, and I was so delighted by her writing, her warmth and good counsel.

One particular day, she wrote something that struck a deep chord in me. We had been discussing motherhood, and the challenges we both face. She said that she had suddenly realized that as women,"WE create Christmas. Even in tough times. It's up to us."

She is so right. It is up to us. That is how Christmas began, after all:   With a new mother, just doing the very best she could, in the circumstances she found herself with... Trying to be a good woman, against all odds. Just like us.

Hence, the choice of carol today, the "Hymn to the Virgin". A beautiful, thirteenth-century verse, dedicated to an extraordinary woman, devoted wife and loving mother, who did the very best she could, for her child, and for her family, on that first Christmas Night.

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