Hannah brings sacrifices and offers Samuel to the High Priest. From an illuminated book of miniatures known as The Crusader Bible, also known as the Morgan Picture Bible, the Maciejowski Bible, and the Shah ‘Abbas Bible. Paris, France, ca. 1244–1254. Morgan Library and Museum, New York.
O Rex Gentium
O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone making both one: come and save the human race, which you fashioned from clay. (cf Isaiah 28.16; Ephesians 2.14)
Bob Chilcott. Advent Antiphons, no. 6. Queens' College Choir, Cambridge, cond. Silas Wollston.
As we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ,
kindle your light in our hearts
to keep us watchful and hopeful,
to open our lives to Christ's coming in many ways through all our days
—even in the least expected ways,
to witness to Christ's ministry and love to our neighbours,
to work together for peace and reconciliation with our neighbours,
to pray for our concerns in this congregation and in our lives.
In the name of Christ. Amen.
from Four Nativity Poems,
by Anthony Wilson
They say there are signs.
Not with her.
I'm no professor
but neither am I stupid.
I asked her who she'd been seeing.
She sat there murmuring 'Angel'.
She went north a few days
—change'll do you good.
The solicitors said to forget it.
'Without proof …' they smiled.
If anything she started to brighten:
'They'll be cousins, same age!'
(I can't be sure,
but I think I saw him, too.)
We left it too late, of course.
The traffic was solid,
some pop idol on the hire car radio
We stopped at a Little Chef
on a B-road somewhere in the hills.
Crystal midnight it was,
good as daylight.
Then she grew wild-eyed.
Her bawling, a blunt saw,
cut through me.
It wasn't like in the songs.
1 Samuel 1:24-28
When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour, and a skin of wine. She brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh; and the child was young. Then they slaughtered the bull, and they brought the child to Eli. And she said, ‘Oh, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed; and the Lord has granted me the petition that I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.’
She left him there for the Lord.
Song of Hannah (APBA, 429)
My heart exults in the Lord: my strength is exalted in my God.
My mouth derides my enemies: because I rejoice in your salvation.
There is no Holy One like you, O Lord: nor any Rock like you, our God.
For you are a God of knowledge: and by you our actions are weighed.
The bows of the mighty are broken: but the feeble gird on strength.
The barren woman has borne sevenfold: but she who has many children is forlorn.
Both the poor and the rich are of your making: you bring low and you also exalt.
You raise up the poor from the dust: and lift the needy from the ash heap.
You make them sit with the rulers: and inherit a place of honour.
For the pillars of the earth are yours: and on them you have set the world.
—1 Samuel 2.18
Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.
Arvo Pärt. Magnificat (in Latin). Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, dir. Paul Hillier.
Magníficat ánima mea Dóminum.
Et exultávit spíritus meus: in Deo salutári meo.
Quia respéxit humilitátem ancíllae suae:
Ecce enim ex hoc beátam me dicent omnes generatiónes.
Quia fécit mihi mágna qui pótens est: et sánctum nómen eius.
Et misericórdia eius in progénies et progénies timéntibus eum.
Fécit poténtiam in bráchio suo: dispérsit supérbos mente cordis sui.
Depósuit poténtes de sede: et exaltávit húmiles.
Esuriéntes implévit bonis: et dívites dimísit inánes.
Suscépit Ísrael púerum suum: recordátus misericórdiae suae.
Sicut locútus est ad patres nostros: Ábraham, et sémini eius in saecula.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour;
he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed;
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.
He has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm
and has scattered the proud in their conceit,
Casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember his promise of mercy,
The promise made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children for ever.