Ave Maria is an achingly beautiful song with many variations. This one’s composed by Bach, I believe, and is sung by one of the Celtic Women. Here’s another of my favorite renditions, as performed by Josh Groban.
When I was thirteen, my friend Luz invited me to attend Christmas Eve mass with her, and over my father’s objections, I accepted. The Catholic service was wholly unfamiliar to me, the daughter of a Pentecostal tent preacher, but Luz did her best to explain the rituals and their symbolism. At some point the choir sang Ave Maria, in Latin. Luz handed me an English translation, but as it turned out, I didn’t really need it.
Hail, Mary, full of grace. Flickering candles illuminated a statue of a mother nuzzling her newborn baby. Blessed are you, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. Though I was listening to that song for the very first time, my heart understood what my ears could not.
To this day, I can’t listen to Ave Maria without tears. No matter what our religious beliefs, I think we all yearn for the blessings that come of being swaddled in the protective arms of a loving mother.
May your holidays be merry and bright, and may all your days be filled with peace and unconditional love.