The great medieval hymn “O Magnum Mysterium” celebrates the mystery of the Incarnation, taking us past the final stretch of Advent to peer in through the window at the nativity scene of Luke 2. It has captivated the imaginations of Christians throughout the centuries in the way its simple text unfolds into deeper and deeper layers of revelation of the Word made flesh in Christ. Originally a chant for the matins of Christmas, the hymn presents a scene that exemplifies the wondrous Christmas joy of Emmanuel, God with us.

Yet it also foreshadows Christ’s crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension.