Our Lady in Christmas Carols

An intriguing look at the place of the Virgin Mary in Christmas carols, which, somewhat to my surprise, she is largely absent, being mentioned, even obliquely, in only about 28% of what we might class under that genre. But, then, Our Lady herself loves to be unknown, and her soul and her renown is only magnified by the Lord. As Michael Linton notes (I’m not sure if he’s Catholic or not, but he seems to have a devotion to this most blessed of women), there are the Catholic antiphons (Alma Redemptoris Mater being the one for Christmas and Advent), but few sing these now, unless one is amongst devotees of the usus antiquior. The one carol most vividly about Mary is the Angel Gabriel, a 13th century basque hymn – contemporary with Thomas Aquinas, no mean hymn writer himself – which has been performed by many choirs and artists. Here is a classical rendition, by the Kings College singers: