The Aangel Gabriel Visits Mary and Her Response
From the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we learn:
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
The Angel Gabriel Appears before Zacharias
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
But the angel said unto him,
"Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
And Zacharias said unto the angel,
"Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years."
And the angel answering said unto him,
"I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season."
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.
And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
"Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men."
The Angel Gabriel Appears before Mary
And in the sixth month [of Elisabeth's pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said,
"Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her,
"Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Then said Mary unto the angel,
"How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
And the angel answered and said unto her,
"The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible."
And Mary said,
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
And the angel departed from her.
Mary Travels To The Home of Her Cousin, Elisabeth
And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said,
"Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
"And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."
And Mary said,
"My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."
And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
Source: Luke 1:5-56 (King James Version)
Inspired by these exchanges, numerous hymns and carols have been written. But for our purposes, we'll concentrate on just two: The Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary, and Mary's Response to her cousin Elisabeth, which is called The Magnificat.
Of these many hymns and carols, the following appear on this web site:
This is the announcement to Mary by the Angel Gabriel that she is favored in the eyes of the Lord God, and that, as a consequence, she is to bear a son, Jesus, who will be the long-promised Messiah.
Angelus Ad Virginem, a 13th Century Latin Hymn. Translations and adaptations include, but are not limited to:
Come The Archangel To the Maid (Gabriel Gillett)
Gabriel From Heaven-King (Middle English)
Gabriel From Heaven's King (Gerald Manley Hopkins)
Gabriel To Mary Came (John Macleod Campbell Crum, copyright 1932)
Gabriel To Mary Came (Elizabeth Poston, copyright 1965)
Gabriel To Mary Came (Pickard-Cambridge)
Gabriel To Mary Went (Rev. J. O'Connor)
The Angel Gabriel From God (Sandys, 1833)
The Angel Gabriel (Alternative Title: The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came)
Angel Gabriel From God, The (The Angel Gabriel From God, Sandys)
Angelus Emittitur, a 13th Century Latin Hymn, some translations of which include:
John Mason Neale's Carols for Christmas-tide: Gabriel's Message Does Away
Richard R. Woodward's Cowley Carol Book: Gabriel's Message Does Away
Richard R. Terry's Two Hundred Folk Carols: Gabriel From Heaven Has Flown
Gabriel To Mary Came (Elizabeth Poston, The Penguin Book of Christmas Carols, copyright 1965)
Gabriel From Heaven-King (Middle English)
Gabriel, That Angel Bright (Weston)
Gabriel, That Angel Bright (Rickert)
Gabriell, That Angell Bry3t (Wright)
Gabriel's Message (Alternate Title: The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came)
God Sent His Aungell Gabriell (Middle English: God Sent His Angel Gabriel)
Nowell, Nowell (this is the saluctacion off the aungell Gabriell)
Nowell, Nowell, Nowell (This is the salutacyoun of the angell, Gabryell.)
Nowell, nowell, nowell, nowell (This is the salutation of Gabriel)
St. Gabriel Came To Mary - The Annunciation
"My soul doth magnify the Lord." These words of Mary were the inspiration for a few hymns and carols that we've found. They include:
If you would like to help support Hymns and Carols of Christmas, please click on the button below and make a donation.