December 07, 2022

Christmas and Advent Hymns and their Story

“The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came”

This carol has it’s origin in the Basque country of northeast Spain, and southwestern France. Published in 1897, it was a collection of songs praising Christ as Lord. The hymn is based on Luke 1:26-38, the visit of the Angel to the Virgin Mary. It is hymn most usually used on the 4th Sunday of Advent, and for the Annunciation of our Lord on March 25th.
Each verse closes with “Most Highest Favored Lady, Gloria!”. Lutherans have always held Mary in high honor because of the incarnation on JEsus, and with the ancient church confess her to be the “Theotokos” [mother of God – or – God bearer]. That is, we confess her to be the mother of Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, with respect to both His human and divine natures.
Gabriels words reflect this in Luke 1:28 – “And he came to her and said, ‘greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!'” The word “Gloria” is ascribed to God, not Mary, and reflects both the opening words of Mary’s own hymn of praise [Magnificat – Luke 1:46-55], and also the angels hymn of praise at the birth of Jesus; Luke 2:14 – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes aflame;
“All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady.” Gloria!

LSB 356

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