Over the past couple weeks I’ve been preparing for and am now on a family Christmas vacation. I’ve resolved to actually vacate until about 12/29, so unless I have some great inspiration I won’t be posting anything until around then. That doesn’t mean nobody else will, but I’m writing now to let you know why almost nothing has been posted by me lately but even more to wish you all a wonderful Merry Christmas!
The other night my family was having a nice dinner and we broke into a conversation about which character (other than the Christ child) from the Biblical Christmas story each person was impressed by for whatever reason. It was both delightful and enlightening and might be worth a try at your table.
Some people said Simeon because of his long fidelity. Some said Joseph for his loyalty under immense pressure. One said the donkey for his diligence and self-sacrifice (after all, he might have been eating in that manger!). One mentioned the Magi for their long journey on so little information.
It seemed, however, that the consensus came to down to the Blessed Virgin being the most impressive. As we talked different people highlighted different qualities of her obedience and by the time we were done I was overwhelmed by her. There is a chant of the ancient church that recognizes her by saying,
More honorable than the Cherubim
And more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim
Without Defilement you gave birth to God the Word
True bearer of God we magnify you
No wonder the angel said to her: “Blessed are you among women.”
No wonder Mary said: “Henceforth all generations will call me blessed.”
I found that as we discussed her role in the story of the incarnation, I began to sense the depth and meaning of the incarnation itself.
This young lady, pure of heart and without defilement, really did bear for us God the Word. For this reason, in spite of the arguments of heretics and schismatics, we can call her the Mother of God. Because her Son really was the Son of God.
This is mind-whirling, breath-taking, soul-stirring truth that makes us agree with the angel. No angel ever bore God the Son. She did. In her womb.
It is because of who that Son was that we say with Gabriel himself, “Blessed are you among women.” The thing I love about the picture inserted in this post is the hands. What do they mean?
As you celebrate Christmas, may you enter into an intimacy as deep as that of the ever blessed Mary and Her Child and Her Lord.