Merry Christmas! I hope you’re having a lovely day surrounded by people you love to spend time with — and who love you right back.

Sometimes I like to share a Christmas Hymn or Christmas Carol as a simple holiday greeting here on Design Mom, and today I wanted to share one that is lesser known. I first heard it when we lived in New York and would host an annual Christmas Recital every December. My sister-in-law, Erin, performed this song at one of our parties. It’s called The Cherry Tree Carol. If you’re curious, here’s what it sounds like as performed by Peter, Paul & Mary. And here are the lyrics:

When Joseph was an old man, an old man was he
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee
He married Virgin Mary, the Queen of Galilee

And one day as they went walking, all in the garden green
There were berries and cherries as thick as may be seen
There were berries and cherries as thick as may be seen

Then Mary said to Joseph, so meek and so mild
Joseph, gather me some cherries for I am with child
Joseph, gather me some cherries for I am with child

Then Joseph flew in anger, in anger flew he
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee
Let the father of the baby gather cherries for thee

Then up spoke baby Jesus, from out Mary’s womb
Bow down ye tallest tree that my mother might have some
Bow down ye tallest tree that my mother might have some

So bent down the tallest tree to touch Mary’s hand
Said she, Oh look now Joseph, I have cherries at command
Said she, Oh look now Joseph, I have cherries at command

—–

The little story is really appealing to me — I see it as Mary getting a small glimpse of her power. I know Joseph isn’t portrayed in a very complimentary light in this song, and usually, I like songs that give Joseph a break. But this year, the song lyrics came to mind several times as I read essays and headlines about the #metoo movement.

I pictured young Mary, a teenager, finding herself pregnant with no choice in the matter, and without the benefit of a lifetime of experience to give her some perspective on what was happening (if perspective was even possible in this case). Then having to face Joseph, a man much older than she, with much more authority in their community — and dealing with his angry response. Did he yell? Belittle? Call her a whore? Did he hit her? Threaten to reject her? And what would rejection by Joseph have meant in her community? Would she have been cast out?

Did she tell him what the angel had said? Did he eventually believe her? Or did he need his own angelic visitor before he would take her seriously? I have no idea. But this year, I’ll interpret the story as a lesson to be learned: Listen to women. Believe them when they share their experiences.

Maybe not the usual holiday sentiment, but definitely what’s on my mind these days.

And with that, I’ll swiftly shift gears and end by wishing you the happiest holiday. Sincerely and truly. Merry Christmas to you and yours!