When we sing Silent Night at church, I always think “Round yon virgin” is a strange phrase. I also think it’s a boring song that seems to take seven hours to finish, but that’s not the point. Mental Floss tells us what that phrase means:
The “round” in “Silent Night” might call up imagery of the soft, maternal kind, but in the phrase “round yon virgin,” it simply means “around.” “Yon” is an antiquated word for “that one” or “over there.”
This is what I always suspected but hoped wasn’t true: we’re just saying, “The virgin mother’s over there.” Deep stuff.
There’s more decrypting of odd Christmas song lyrics (“Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,” for example) over at Mental Floss.
(More articles at www.ThinkingThroughChristianity.com)