Advent Reading:: Day 2, George MacDonald

Come, saviour of nations wild,
Of the maiden owned the child
That may wonder all the earth
God should grant it such a birth.

Not of man's flesh or man's blood
Only of the Spirit of God
Is God's Word a man become,
And blooms the fruit of woman's womb.

Maiden, she was found with child,
Nor was chastity defiled;
Many a virtue from her shone:
God was there upon his throne.

From that chamber of content,
Royal palace pure, he went;
God by kind, in human grace
Forth he comes to run his race.

From the Father came his road,
And returns again to God;
Unto hell it did go down,
Up then to the Father's throne.

Thou, the Father's form express,
Get thee victory in the flesh,
That thy godlike power in us
Make sick flesh victorious.

Shines thy manger bright and fair;
Sets the night a new star there:
Darkness thence must keep away;
Faith dwells ever in the day.

Honour unto God be done;
Honour to his only son;
Honour to the Holy Ghost,
Now, and ever, ending not. Amen.
-George MacDonald


Lucy said...

I know you like George MacDonald and I'm disconcerted to disagree with you because our tastes are so often in accord - but I really don't like this. It is anti-sex, anti-the-in-the-flesh-ness of humans and, I'd suggest, sexist too in the way it emphasises that the only goodness shining out of Mary was because God was in her - and that comes from the Father. (This last bit could be read as if that's exactly true but I think Mary's human virtues need to be recognised too - she must have had some!) I even get the sense that when he talks about the road going down to hell and back again, the 'hell' he has in mind is her womb.

Hmm. I wasn't sure whether to leave this comment and hope you aren't offended. It's just that it's . . . it's . . . got me riled up and I suspect you would rather I said so than crept away without speaking.

Good wishes for Advent.


Blessed said...

Please do this for every day of Advent, ok? (BEcause I want to be reading selections with the girls but so far yours are MUCH more beautiful and special than what I am finding!) : )

rosa said...

You know, Lucy, the funny thing is that I almost didn't include this poem-but it was because I thought that the meter was too clunky! I obviously didn't give the content too much thought, as I completely passed over the points that make your teeth clench.
But now that I do go back over it, I find MacDonald's view of Mary to be more......sanitized & 'clean & bright' than I would expect from him.
I see what you are saying about the sex-ism, "Nor with chastity defined" as if sex is a dirty, defiling thing. She 'found favor with God' not because she had refrained from sex, but because her heart was right before Him,and He obviously thought her the best mother for His Son. I've always seen the virgin part as part of the necessary ingredients of the miracle.

I wonder if MacDonald had been lately musing on the holiness of God coming down to join in His own creation when he wrote this.
That would account for a lot.
And thank you for saying something and not creeping away! It's good to talk about this stuff!

I wonder if you have read Anne Rice's 'Christ the Lord-Out of Egypt', which chronicles Jesus & family coming back to the Holy Land after being in Egypt. I am enjoying it for the most part. Good reading for the season!

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.