On 26 December Maronites attend Mass and celebrate the feast of the Praises to Mary. This is one of the original Marian feasts of the Syriac tradition.
This excerpt from the Hymn on the Nativity by St Ephrem is a wonderful example of the focus on Mary from the earliest times…
‘A wonder is Your Mother. The Lord entered her, and became a servant: the Word entered her, and became silent within her; thunder entered her, and His voice was still: the Shepherd of all entered her; He became a Lamb in her, and came forth bleating.
The Belly of Your Mother changed the order of things, O You that orders all! The rich went in, He came out poor: the High One went in, He came out lowly. Brightness went into her and clothed Himself, and came forth a despised form.
The Mighty went in, and clad Himself with fear from the Belly. He that gives food to all went in, and gat hunger. He that gives all to drink went in, and gat thirst. Naked and bare came forth from her the Clother of all.’
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