Parishes | Schools | Priests | Masses |
More in this section MAIN MENU

Mary is key to the meaning of Christmas

English Spanish

For the majority of us, Christmas means family celebrations, great solemn liturgies, abundant exchange of gifts, and the expectation of a new year. I invite you to include Mary in your celebrations. Let her presence be the gentle background for the whole season in the depth of your heart. Invite her often to your interiority.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16-17.

It is ironic that the most powerful Gospel teaching is known popularly as “the little gospel” little like a child.

The Father’s gift of the only Son required the immaculate woman. As Urs Von Balthasar says, “The human being in God’s Son was made man and received this gift from heaven with readiness, openness and availability that were boundless and restricted by nothing at all.”

For the eternal Word to take human flesh there had to be a total selfless human consent a “yes” without calculus, restraints or caveats: Mary’s yes made Christmas possible for us. Mary was so powerful that she brought God into the world.

Once again Urs Von Balthasar helps us understand the Providential convenience of a sinless virgin as the receptacle of God’s divine Son: “Of course she is not grace for grace is God and comes from God and Mary is a mere creature. But she is the only creature who presented no resistance to grace … she does what grace wants, namely hands it on, gives it away, pours it out for others.”

Christmas is preceded by a season of Advent which is pregnant with the expectations of the three comings of Christ in an indivisible and integrated form: the historical, the sacramental and the one at the end of time. In preparing the “way of the Lord”, the Christian disciple celebrates :
  • The Immaculate Conception(December 8)
  • St. Juan Diego(December 9),
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12)
  • The Virgin-Mother (December 25)
  • The Mother of God (January 1)
The faith in the incarnation of the Word has significant Marian motifs in the prayer of
the Church.

The reason children love Christmas so much is because of the splendor of its innocent beauty. Biblical scholar Raymond Brown often expressed his amazement on how the infancy narratives of Our Lord Jesus Christ had acculturated into popular culture.

This beauty fills Mary, as this hymn expresses so well: 

Virgin born, we bow before you;
Blessed was the womb that bore you;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
Blessed was she in her Child.
Blessed was the maid that fed you;
Blessed was the hand that led you;
Blessed was the parent’s eye
That watched your slumbering infancy.
Blessed she by all creation,
Who brought forth the world’s salvation;
And blessed they forever blest,
Who love you most and serve you best.
Virgin born, we bow before you:
Blessed was the womb that bore you;
Mary, Mother meek and mild,
Blessed was she in her Child.
And I would add: Blessed was He in such a masterpiece of a woman!

Most Reverend Felipe J. Estévez
Auxiliary Bishop of Miami

Comments from readers

Fray Lombardo D'Auria, O.F.M. Cap. - 12/22/2009 04:30 PM
Estimado Monseñor Estévez,
Paz y bien en Santa Alegria!
Gracias por esta reflexión en Nuestra Santa Madre. Es por eso, que en Nicaragua, todo el mes de Diciembre grita con alegria:
Quien Causa Tanta Alegria?
¡La Concepción de María!
Y nuestro seráfico Padre, San Francisco de Asís la saluda, diciendo,
¡Salve, Señora, santa Reina, santa Madre de Dios, María, virgen hecha iglesia!
Que en esta celebración del Nacimiento del Salvador, todos sigamos los pasos de la Madre de Dios. En especial, rezo por todos los hermanos y hermanas que han abandonado la Santa Eucaristía y vean el ejemplo de como ser discípulos de Cristo en la Madre de Dios.
En Cristo Rey,
Fray Lombardo D'Auria, O.F.M. Cap.
Deacon Luis A. Rivero - 12/21/2009 06:13 AM
Bishop Estevez,
Thank you for such a wonderful reminder as we approach the celebration of THE EVENT which changed the world. Thank you for reminding us of the first disciple whose ministry centers on Christ. I pray that her example and maternal love always guides us and our vocations. May we always follow her example in that unconditional Yes!

United in Prayer and at the Table of the Lord,
Dcn. Luis A. Rivero

Let's Talk Blog

Meet the Bloggers