Music of the Week: December 23, 2022: Helene Fischer – Maria durch ein Dornwald ging

Helene Fischer | Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging (Aufnahmen Abbey Road Studios, London)

Helene Fischer | Maria durch ein' Dornwald ging (Aufnahmen Abbey Road Studios, London)

There is a sacred legend that tells of a miracle when the thorns began to bear roses. For seven years the barren thorn wood had not brought forth a flower. As Mary—bearing Jesus under her heart—walked through the thicket, blossoms burst forth.

Originally believed to be a pilgrimage song and now a song of the time of Advent—and one of the most beloved German Christmas songs—it is magically conveyed in this version by the very popular German singer Helene Fischer, widely regarded as the “Queen of German Schlager music” today.

The song’s simple words and old Renaissance style convey a special intimacy of the Divine Mother and the Christ Child giving life to a forlorn world. The rose, of course, is of the tree of Jesse, and the thorn is reminiscent of the crown of thorns Jesus would bear at the end of his life. Both, however, also stand for Mary, the mother of Christ, who is sometimes regarded as the “rosa mystica.” As early as the 5th century, Christian poet Caelius Sedulius compared Mary to a rose blossoming from thorns, with the thorn symbolizing the piercing of the heart of the mother who loses her son to the injustice of the world.

For this Christmas, may these lyrics also be heard for all the innocent children, for the mothers who lost their newborns, and for the coming generations whose reproductivity is endangered. And so shall the miracle of roses happen again in our time and transform a sterile transhumanism back into the redeemed nature of divine life.


1  Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging.
Maria durch ein’ Dornwald ging,
Der hat in sieben Jahr’n kein Laub getragen!
Jesus und Maria

2  Was trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen?
Ein kleines Kindlein ohne Schmerzen,
Das trug Maria unter ihrem Herzen!
Jesus und Maria

3  Da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen.
Als das Kindlein durch den Wald getragen,
Da haben die Dornen Rosen getragen!
Jesus und Maria


1  Maria walks amid the thorn,
Which for seven years no leaf hath born
She walks amid the wood of thorn
Jesus and Maria

2  What ‘neath her heart does Mary bear?
A little child doth Mary bear
Beneath her heart he nestles there.
Jesus and Maria

3  And as the two are passing near
Roses on the thorns appear!
Jesus and Maria


Maria durch ein Dornwald ging on Wikipedia

Helene Fischer Homepage

Other versions of this song you may enjoy:

Maria durch ein Dornwald ging performed by VOCES8 Ensemble in the arrangement by Stefan Claas

Maria durch ein Dornwald ging performed by Folk music group BUBE DAME KÖNIG

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