The mystery of hope. Sting’s version of this eerie medieval carol for Christmas and the Feast of the Annunciation celebrates Mary, mother of Jesus. But old songs can have new interpretations. Its haunting music and dark images mixing innocence and awe celebrate the potential of any woman who has lived through horrible circumstances and stills finds ways to bring hope into the world.
In these words we can see not just Mary, but all women:
For know a Blessed Mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee
Thy Son shall be Immanuel, by seers foretold.
Most highly favoured Lady! Gloria!
Immanuel means “God with us”. The wisdom of a woman who has survived her circumstances is a wisdom as deep as life itself. She brings life into the world through this wisdom, both in the way it shapes her actions and the way it shapes her words and all future choices. This wisdom goes beyond the wisdom of her own generation, because it touches all those she nurtures. They in turn carry it forward to those they touch, like angels carrying God’s message of hope into the world.