Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Eyes As Flame

Among the many losses associated with this season has been the music that has so moved me for decades. I can't bear to hear it. I cannot bear much of anything associated with Christmas or its traditions ~ and music, of course, heightens all emotional response.

This carol, though ~ I can listen to it sparingly, and primarily for the second phrase in the second line. I cannot countenance the thought that Mary had an ounce of meekness in her, at least not as we know the word. But ~ if this event took place in any way remotely related to the narrative as it comes to us via Luke, then: yes, the angel Gabriel's eyes could have only been wild with fire. If this event and those that followed offer any hope at all to a people completely undone, a group in who I count myself this year, then the invitation could have been offered only by an angel whose eyes were ablaze with light.

And if you need them to listen along, the lyrics:

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 favored lady,” Gloria!“

For know a bless├Ęd mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored 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 favored 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 favored lady,” Gloria!


Joan Calvin said...

A friend once told me that in the Vulgate the verb used for Mary's "let it be" is the same as the one God used when God created the world. It is an imperative, an order to God. Not very meek there. Unfortunately, it is not so in the Greek. . .

My prayers are with you in the coldness and the dark.

Catherine + said...

May Gabriel's eyes of flame help undim the darkness that is so daunting for you, for me, for all who have suffered such tremendous loss...