One of the Sunday School teachers at my church will be out of town this Sunday, so I have been asked to teach the middle school aged children. The lesson is to be about the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would be bringing the Savior into the world. So many beautiful works of art representing this, it was hard to choose just one to show you here. I have been given a "search-for-word" type puzzle for the children after we have read the scripture from Luke. You know, I will make them do more than just a puzzle, right? I wish I could show them all the works of art and also, I want to make sure that they know this very old hymn, "Gabriel's Message", thought to be 13th or 14th century, which was translated from the Basque by Sabine Baring-Gould, the Englishman who also wrote "Onward Christian Soldiers". You may read about him here.
(And we may thank him for the Victorian image of the "wings as drifted snow".)
Many artists have this song on Youtube but my favorite was this one by King's College Choir from Cambridge.
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!
It has been suggested that the song "Let It Be" by the Beatles, could be associated with the Virgin Mary. ("Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, Let it be") Paul McCartney has always denied this (his mother's name was Mary), but the fact is that his words echo scripture very closely here. It's okay, Paul, this is a very good book to borrow from!
6 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”[c]
29 But when she saw him,[d] she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”
38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.