Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word. Thus began the pregnancy, like none other, of a comely virgin living in Nazareth, the land of Judea over two thousand years ago. Her name was Mary. Like those with child around her, she moved into the dailyness of the growth in her womb—She marveled.

Her quiet presence nurtured a place within the religious imaginations of her Son’s lowly folk who embellished her story, like His, into carols around the world. One of these honors her pregnancy and dates back to seventeenth-century Germany.  

Maria walks amid the thorn,
Kyrie eleison.
Maria walks amid the thorn,
Which seven years no leaf has born.
Jesus and Maria.

What ‘neath her heart doth Mary bear?
Kyrie eleison.
A little child doth Mary bear,
Beneath her heart He nestles there.
Jesus and Maria.

And as the two are passing near,
Kyrie eleison,
Lo! roses on the thorns appear,
Lo! roses on the thorns appear.
Jesus and Maria.

The carol, referenced in the hymnal Gesangbuch of Andernach, was universally known and liked at that time.

Its composer, perhaps a peasant smarting under conflicted political leaders, identified with Mary’s suffering; she, too, knew the prickly heal of the Romans, whose presence had raped their land, rendering it a place of thorns and bareness.

Yet, the composer’s hope unfurled like a brilliant pennant in his psyche, remembering the fetal life Mary bore in her womb and how it was changing the perception of herself. She would now be responsible in a new way.

Not only did he remember, but he surrendered to this new power already at work through Mary’s willingness to participate in the strange life opening before her. In place of thorns, now grew roses.