This week’s music calls our attention to Mary, theotokos, the mother of God.
But, it has been a challenging search … where is Mary in our Advent and Christmas music? Surprisingly, she’s mostly absent. Michael Linton did the research and found that in reviewing the “texts of 381 English-language Christmas carols, Mary (or the “virgin,” or “mother,” or even “woman”) appears in only 27 percent of them. She’s slightly behind the angels and shepherds (who both are in 28 percent of the songs) but significantly ahead of the wise men (who come in at 13 percent). But Mary’s presence is even less than this low percentage at first suggests. Shepherds, angels, and the wise men are frequently mentioned in multiple verses of a carol. Mary typically is mentioned only once, and sometimes that reference is itself oblique.”
We can only really know a fraction of the challenge and chaos that must have been part of her hoping and longing. These few pieces challenge us to contemplate the waiting that Mary experienced and give us a few moments in which to reflect.