Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones! Christ is born, alleluia!
Catholics and Protestants alike have loved this carol, "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" in the original German and now in many translations. The earliest text, dating from around 1580, was found in a Carthusian monastery. The video is based on the harmonization by the German composer Michael Praetorius (1571–1621) and the familiar 1894 translation by Theodore Baker.
One might wonder why in Baker's version the ending of the second verse, "She bore to men a Savior / When half spent was the night," repeats that of the first. So to emphasize the hour of Jesus' birth seems out of keeping with the overall structure of the hymn.
It turns out that Praetorius, who was Lutheran, and Baker played down the Marian nature of the hymn, which like the 16th-century Litany of Loreto, identified the rose with Mary rather than Jesus. And one form of that second verse literally ends, "She has borne a child / Remaining a pure maid," which of course reflects the Catholic conviction that Mary remained ever-Virgin. The carol in its Protestantized version is still very lovely, but it shows the long history of needing to ask "What does the hymn really say?"
Dear readers, whatever you believe or practise, we appreciate your interest in our occasional remarks here on the blog. Special thanks go out to those of you who pray for us and our family members, one of whom remains in particularly poor health. Rest assured of our prayers for you.
Note: Please visit again later today for a Christmas treat that isn't quite ready to post yet.