Amid the Cold of Winter

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, Voces8

A friend sent me a recording of the medieval German hymn, Es ist ein Ros entsprungen (“Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”) by British ensemble Voces8. It evoked deep emotion in me, for while in Europe on Christmas and New Year’s in 2018, my twin daughters and our friend and I visited my uncle in Köln, Germany, where this hymn was written in 1599.

My uncle and I attended midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in the very church in Köln where this hymn was first sung, for it is the church where he and my late aunt were married. The a cappella voices of the church ensemble echoing off medieval stones was a transcendent and unifying experience, as was seeing and touching the baptismal font that had been used since 800-900 A.D. My aunt and cousins and many of their ancestors had been baptised there.

In the eternal pause of that holy Mass, I fathomed with a hallowed understanding the immensity of the gifts of ancestors whose survival and well-being pre-date and support our lives today.

I thank them and the G*d named Love for all that flowers in the cold of winter.

May your deep root bring forth the fruits of cold, darkness, and suffering into a bountiful light and goodness in the coming year.

“Es ist ein Ros entsprungen”
Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

Music: Köln, 1599 (author unknown)
Trans.: English, Theodore Baker, 1894

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
As men of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it,
The rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it.
The Virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright
She bore to them a Savior,
When half-spent was the night.

O Flower, whose fragrance tender
With sweetness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious splendour
The darkness everywhere;
True man, yet very God,
From Sin and death now save us,
And share our every load.

2 responses to “Amid the Cold of Winter”

  1. MaryJaneHurleyBrant Avatar

    Anne, what a beautiful experience for you. And this is a piece for the ages. I have listened to it multiple times, once with my eyes closed.

    May this holy season be one where you feel the spirits of those who have gone before you, those who are here and those yet to come.

    Peace and love, Sister Mother,

    1. Anne Avatar

      Thank you, dear one. The gifts of winter are deep, rooty things, and I’m grateful for those, too.

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