Gabriel’s Message

I am feeling drawn this morning to listen to Gabriel’s Message over and over again. It is a Basque carol by Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1294) that is loosely based on the Magnificat of Mary found in Luke 1:46-55 and the Christmas story of Luke 2. I don’t really think it is the text particularly that is moving me as much as the simplicity of the harmonics. The simple beauty of the polyphony as well as the strophic nature of the piece. As I come down from the rush of getting through the first four months of the school year and look toward the upcoming break, I think it is important that I slow down. This song provides that slowing presence for me.

I think that God provides us winter so that we are forced to slow down. It is highly important at this time of year that we do that to simple sit in wonder at the mystery he gave to us in the form of Jesus Christ.

The Choir of Winchester Cathedral
Sting’s Version
Jars of Clay version


1. 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!

2. “For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee,
Thy Son shall be Emanuel, by seers foretold
Most highly favored lady,” Gloria!

3. 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!

4. Of her, Emanuel, 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!

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