“The Annunciation” H. Tanner 1898
True confession time. For most of my life I did not pray to Mary. I wasn’t in the habit of saying the Rosary. And I did not have any statues of the Blessed Mother in my home or garden. Mary had always seemed a lofty ideal to me. A heavenly image of perfection that I could not live up to or relate to. I once heard a priest say that our Church hadn’t done Mary any favors by putting her up on a pedestal. The higher she was raised up, the more remote she became.
Years ago, a friend recommended that I read a book called Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes, a dramatic account of Mary’s story—a teenage girl chosen by God to bring Christ into our earthly world. The Mary depicted in this story was one I found infinitely compelling: young, scared, and facing an overwhelming responsibility. Discovering Mary through the prayer of imagination was the moment she became real to me. And now I pray to her all the time.
Who was Mary? What was her life like? What was the historical context in which she lived? Only by learning Mary’s personal story can we find our own story. And the Advent season is where Mary’s story begins. Continue reading
It’s that season again. When countless sermons and blog posts deliver the same message: we’re doing Christmas all wrong. We’re focusing on the trappings and the noise instead of the true meaning of Christmas. Through all the gift giving and party planning, we’re forgetting whose birthday it really is. The stress of planning and decorating is distracting us from what’s really important.
My reaction to these statements… THEY ARE NOT HELPFUL AT ALL!
This commentary (for you can’t even really call it advice) is not rooted in a woman’s reality. We can’t abandon these things, because it’s our job. There’s a quote you’ve probably heard by British poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy: “We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams.” (You may remember Willy Wonka saying this line in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) Well, as women, we are the Christmas makers and we are the creators of Christmas dreams. Our job is making memories…and it’s an incredibly valuable one. Continue reading
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
On the night our Savior came into the world, there was no room for him. I can only imagine how Mary and Joseph must have felt. Tired and dusty from the long trip through Galilee and Judea. Mary, heavy with child, uncomfortable, frightened, knowing with a woman’s intuition that her time was near. Joseph, realizing with dread that they would not make it home in time, and their child would have to be born here, in Bethlehem. This brave couple, so very young and alone, desperately searching for a safe place to give birth, only to be told there was no room at the local inn.
John the Baptist says: “The Kingdom of Heaven is near” … “Prepare the way of the Lord!” Just like that innkeeper in Bethlehem, during this holy season of Advent, we are being asked to make room for Jesus in our lives…in our hearts…and the world.
How will we respond to this request? Continue reading