Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Seven Joys of Mary

Here is my Thought for the Week from St Martin-in-the-Fields' newsletter:

‘The Seven Joys of Mary’ is a traditional carol about Mary’s happiness at moments in the life of Jesus, probably inspired by the Seven Joys of the Virgin in the devotional literature and art of Medieval Europe.

The carol has a simple, repetitive but beautiful structure: “The first good joy that Mary had, / It was the joy of one / To see her blessed Jesus / When He was first her Son. / When He was Her first Son, Good Lord; / And happy may we be, / Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost / To all eternity”

That structure is repeated for all seven joys. There are different British and US versions of the carol which taken together give more than seven joys but the basic joys of Mary of which the carol speaks take us from the nativity of Christ (suck at her breast bone) through his ministry (make the lame to go; make the blind to see; read the Bible o’er; bring the dead alive) to his death (upon the crucifix), and on to his resurrection and ascension (wear the crown of heaven).

Part of the reason this carol resonates, besides its beauty, is that it links Christmas with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It even dares to list the Crucifixion as one of Mary’s joys, an incomprehensible idea unless viewed with the eyes of faith.

So the singing of a carol like this can help us more fully explain the meaning of Christmas and save it from mere sentimentality because, as the carol describes, Christ is born into our world to save us by his life, death, and resurrection. That is the ultimate lesson of every true Christmas tradition and the source of all our joys as Christians, as well as those of Mary. May that be our experience this Christmas as we sing carols and hear, once again, the Christmas story told.


Kate Rusby - Diadem.

No comments: