Woman of Favor

from "Hold the Child Gently", a Christmas Cantata

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson

Lyrics as Poetry

Woman of favor, blessed of God,
God is with you!
Like Sarah and Hannah and others of old,
all things are new!
God is with you!

Woman of favor, blessed of God,
God is with you!
This is the time when creation is blessed,
all things are new!
God is with you!

Woman of favor, blessed of God,
God is with you!
You shall give birth and have a son.
all things are new!
God is with you!

Woman of favor, blessed of God,
God is with you!
His name will be Jesus, a Saviour for all.
all things are new!
God is with you!

All things are new!

Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1988 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

A Reflection by

Only in Luke’s gospel do we have the story of an angel visitor coming to Mary and speaking to her of the child she would bear. For Luke, the birth narrative is important and, typical of his style of observing, interpreting and recording, the people in the drama are flesh and blood women and men. Even the angel Gabriel is amazingly gentle, concerned not to alarm the young woman, anxious to allay any fears she might have. She is affirmed immediately as Gabriel addresses her. “Greetings favoured one! The Lord IS with you!”

The echoes of the ancient stories from the Hebrew Scriptures of Sarah and of Hannah are clear. Each, in her own way, is a woman of favour. Each, in her own way, receives the affirmation of God and each in turn bears a son. The song Mary sings, what we have come to know as The Magnificat, is essentially Hannah’s song. Luke, the gospel writer wants his readers to make the connection.

God is, again, making all things new. Yet the story of salvation (God’s healing intention for creation and humanity) is one with the unfolding story that winds from creation through the wanderings of Abraham and Sarah and their descendants. It includes the ongoing saga of God’s faithfulness and the call to the people of faith to seek justice and to love mercy while walking humbly with their God.

This song invites us to reflect on how times of awareness occur within our life experiences. These times of awareness sometimes come because of some external happening as, for Isaiah, “in the year that King Uzziah died.” Isaiah sees the death of Uzziah as disastrous for the nation. His vision in the temple startles him by affirming both the power of God and Isaiah’s own “call” to speak for God in the midst of troubled times. Moses, fleeing the Egyptian authorities and seeking a safe place in the desert, knows that he is in the presence of “The One That Is” when his attention is riveted on a bush that is burning but apparently not being consumed by the flames. The phenomenon is one with the voice of God. God speaks to Moses of his people, the Hebrews, a people enslaved but, like the bush, not consumed, not annihilated. Moses will be the one that will lead them out of Egypt, out of slavery.

For Sarah, and for Hannah, who are childless, it is their awareness of their advancing age and their childlessness that precipitates great anguish. They pour out that anguish to God. They were not, of course, contemporaries. Their stories and circumstances were very different. When each becomes pregnant they are overcome with a sense of having been chosen, of being “women of favour”, women blessed in the eyes of God. Sarah named her son Isaac (Laughter) because she had laughed at the possibility of ever being a mother. Hannah dedicates her son, Samuel, to God’s service. As a boy Samuel serves the priest and judge, Eli. While still a boy Samuel, in a dream, hears a voice calling him. A new age of the prophets is being inaugurated. The prophets speak truth to power and words of promise to the oppressed. Samuel, the last of the Judges, reluctantly anoints Saul as the first King of Israel. He stands at the beginning of an ongoing tension between royal power and the prophets who are special challengers of power, injustice, unfaithfulness. They are the perennial voice of accountability in Hebrew history. John the Baptist and Jesus are both hailed and condemned for being in that strong tradition. Mary’s song echoes Hanna’s song and both proclaim that God “has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.”

Many of us are reluctant to speak of the moments when we have known that we stood in the presence of the Holy. We don’t want to be arrogant. Nor do we want to be laughed at.

God as proclaimed in Scripture and in the lives of people of faith Is! This is not the God of the philosophers used to fill in the blanks in theories of the universe or of life. God is the God of experience, the One who addresses us with questions we cannot answer, with calls we cannot deny or successfully flee from.

Being addressed by God is an affirmation of our essential self – and that essential self is somehow one with the essence that gives rise to and permeates all that Is.

Being addressed by God connects us solidly with creation, with earth and sky and sea and all creatures.

Being addressed by God places us firmly within family, within history, with all that has been and all that will be. The belonging that we seek, the eternal hunger of the human soul, ceases to be something external that we seek. By grace, it is that within which we live and move and have our being!

“Person of favour, blessed of God, God is with you! All things are new.”

We need, each of us, to allow ourselves to be addressed, affirmed, enlisted, empowered. Test this, and see. Speak your name aloud and dare to add the words that follow. “Person of favour, blessed of God, God is with you! All things are new!”

It may take several repetitions before the greeting is truly heard.

“How can this be?”

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you. The power of the Most High will overshadow you.”

                               Audio Sample

One verse played on piano

Scripture References

  • Genesis 18:1-15
  • Genesis 21:1-7
  • 1 Samuel 1
  • 1 Samuel 2:1-10
  • 1 Samuel 2:21
  • 1 Samuel 3:1-11
  • Luke 1:26-38
  • Luke 1:39-56

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Advent∶ Year 'A'∶ Advent 4
  • Advent∶ Year 'B'∶ Advent 4
  • Advent∶ Year 'C'∶ Advent 4
  • Annunciation
  • Christmas
  • Christmas Eve
  • Hanna
  • Mary (mother of Jesus)
  • Sarah
  • Women

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