Two thousand years ago, Mary had a baby. We can relate a few historical facts about both mother and child, but very few. Then there is the theologizing about Jesus and Mary that has taken place over the centuries—lots of words and ideas. Add to that the sentimental and devotional practices that surround both, and we have what very possibly could be a truly confusing mess. As the king in The King and I stated so well, “’tis a puzzlement.”
Childish or childlike: Which one are you? We all have someone in our lives who throws his or her weight around—figuratively speaking—to get their way. Perhaps it’s a coworker, family member, or even someone in our parish. Maybe it’s the person in front of you in the checkout line or the impatient driver on the highway next to you. It even could be you.
Mary is indeed a very special person for us Catholics. Episcopalian and Lutheran Christians also hold her in high esteem for her special role in salvation history. It is impossible to think of our faith, both in doctrine and practice, without thinking of the mother of Jesus—the Mother of God.
Even before the sun breaks through the horizon on December 12, the burst of firecrackers rings throughout Mexico to announce the greatest national fiesta of the year—the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, has from the earliest Christian tradition been given a preeminence of place and status in our faith, far beyond any other person in history. She gave God’s son flesh and blood, and no one was closer to the Savior. In preparation for that unique role, God preserved her from original sin and from all personal sin.
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." —Luke 1:38 Think of all that Mary just learned: She will soon be expecting a baby, this child is the long-awaited Messiah who will restore Israel’s kingdom and bring the history of the world to its climactic moment, she will conceive not through natural means but by the Holy Spirit, and the child will be the divine Son of God.