As you probably know, I am not a believer, but I do sing religious music, because so much of it is so very beautiful. Here is a small piece of exquisite singing for Christmas Eve - Gounod's Ave Maria sung by Kiri Te Kanawa.
Ave Maria, a setting by Gounod of Bach's Prelude in C, sung by Kiri Te Kanawa
Mary occupies a difficult place in feminist thought, especially for someone like me who was reared in the Catholic tradition. She is pedastalized, set above women as someone we should aspire to be like, holy and pure and eternally giving, with no thought of herself. Yet these magnificent words of social justice are placed in her mouth in the gospel of Luke, in what we know as the Magnificat.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy
We know that some of our readers celebrate Christmas as Christians, some as a secular festival of family, some don't celebrate it at all. Whoever you are, wherever you may be, however you mark 25 December, may your day be happy.