Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

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 floweret 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 men a Savior,
When half spent was the night.

This carol is traditional. It is also scriptural in a traditional way.  It lifts a scripture passage, and combines it with the cultural assumptions of the time. It takes the tender plant of Isaiah, makes it a rose, and puts it into the wintertime of Christmas.

It also does something that many of the Christmas carols do not do — connect the Messiah of Israel with the savior of the new testament. It ignores the political connotation of the Messiah, but doesn’t totally forget that the saviour comes from Israel — which most Christmas carols do.

Textual critiquing aside, I also love the melody and the harmonies. It requires control and the ability to sustain to really convey the line.  These are subtle things that no one notices when done right.  Unlike much modern music where the difficult things intentionally draw attention to themselves.  The lyrics are humble, how the song is sung is humble.

2 responses to “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”

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