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This week we begin preparing ourselves for Advent – the most counter-cultural season of the Christian Year. Why counter-cultural? Because the readings and themes of the liturgy call us to wonder and wait, while all around us, the culture presses us to celebrate. The days are coming, but are not yet…

So, when all around us are the sounds of Christmas, let’s remember to wait: to ponder the promises, to prepare our hearts for the miracle.

Over the next five weeks I will present one song each week, in a variety of arrangements and settings. This week, we stand in awe with Mary as she receives and accepts the news of the coming Messiah.

 Sound Theology Playlist #86 – Advent 1 features the Basque hymn Gabriel’s Message.

Gabriel’s Message (arr. Edgar Pettman)

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 favoured lady.’ Gloria!

2 ‘For known a blessèd Mother thou shalt be, all generations laud and honour thee, thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold; most highly favoured 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 favoured lady. Gloria!

4 Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas mom, and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say ‘Most highly favoured lady.’ Gloria!