Wednesday, December 09, 2020

The revolutionary nature of Christmas

I started the day with this gorgeous version of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina’s "Magnificat primi toni," performed by the English a cappella group, Voices8.

This setting for the canticle, one of Christianity's most ancient hymns and the oldest that is distinctly Marian, is believed to date from the late 1580s.

Poor, young, unmarried and pregnant, Mary's response to praise for her faith from Elizabeth is recorded only in the Gospel according to Luke. The revolutionary nature of Mary's messianic vision is reflected in this woodcut by Philadelphia-based printmaker Ben Wildflower.

He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.

In other words, the establishment of power, position and affluence has been turned on its head and cast out, the poor and the powerless --- the "other" if you like --- raised up.

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