by Tim Chik
Merry Christmas! We hear that joyous exclamation so often. But have you ever stopped to think of Mary’s Christmas?
Mary’s experience of that first Christmas was profoundly unique, and we can benefit from reflecting on that moment from her motherly perspective.
For nine months, Mary waited patiently for her miracle baby, pondering the message of the angel. On that first Christmas Eve, Mary is radiant as a new morning sunbeam and fertile as the bright waxing moon.
She sings in her heart the words of the beautiful Advent hymn:
Dear Savior haste; Come, come to earth,
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.
O come, divine Messiah!
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.
— “Venez divin Messie” (Pellegrin)
The long-awaited day has arrived, and hope exalts while sadness flees. Mary radiantly gazes upon the Christ Child, her pregnant expectations fulfilled by God’s own son, the Word of God made flesh, with her flesh. All the preparation for Mary and Joseph, all the worry and fear, all the anxiety and unknowns have led to this moment. This perfectly still moment in time. A moment when God became flesh, redeeming man by becoming man. A moment of wonder and awe.
So, as we celebrate Christmas this year, let us reflect on our awareness of that moment of wonder. How are we present to the Mystical Rose of paradise, as she brings Jesus of Nazareth into a humble cradle in a tiny town of Bethlehem? Do we allow our prayer to change us? Do we see the spark of hope where we previously saw despair?
How can Mary’s quiet faith show the pathway to her vulnerable baby son? Jesus puts himself in Mary’s arms — for her to care for him, to nourish him — and in so doing, puts himself in our arms as well. How do we care for him? Do we reach out to protect the unborn? Do we open our homes to care for the orphaned or abused? Or do we fold our arms and expect others to care for the Christ Child?
St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote that prayer is a “surge of the heart.” The profound surge of Mary’s heart was her fiat. That “yes” from nine months before allowed her to open her arms on this day. In this moment, she receives more than she could ever have conceived on her own.
During this Christmas season, let us enter deeply into the birth- giving experience.
Yes Tim, great column. You know how I love to read the Leaven when I am at your home.