Mary and Christmas

Gone are the liturgical hues of waiting.
Gone are the sighs singing “Come”.
Gone are the empty cribs of manger scenes big and small.

Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord![1]

And as our Creed reminds us, He is born for us “of the Virgin Mary”.

It is a profession of faith in the inseparable mysteries of Christ’s Birth and Mary’s Motherhood. Thus, in a sense, we can say that Christmas is a special moment for those who consecrated to Mary. We have the opportunity to draw as much spiritual fruit from Jesus’ nativity as Mary’s maternity. It is a moment of grace to be born anew spiritually with Jesus through Mary.

Just as Jesus wanted to be born unto us through Mary, so we should also strive to be born anew unto Him through Mary. Being born unto Christ means becoming more like Him in concrete ways. He did not assume a vague humanity, but a true one. Through Mary He assumed a concrete human nature. In imitation of Christ, this should inspire us to also be concrete in our resolve and efforts to continue to grow in virtue and the life of grace.

Every effort to make progress along the way of Christian discipleship is good, but if we are honest with ourselves, we can do better. Doing better starts with being specific and realistic. To make the most progress in growing in virtue or in the life of grace we need to have a single-track mind.

We do not need to formulate a laundry list of resolutions. Sure, we probably have plenty of desires and attitudes in our hearts and minds that need purification. Our spiritual laundry basket might in fact be full! But we are human beings, not industrial sized laundry machines. And good habits can’t be acquired in one place, at a convenient price and in bulk sizes. Our purification and growth in virtue can only happen one step at a time. One virtue at a time. One daily act of prayer at time. One trip to the communion rail or confessional at a time.

If there is an exchanging of gifts that God intended during this Christmas season it is this wonderous exchange enacted through Mary. As St. Thomas Aquinas writes about in his Commentary on the Creed,

It is certain that the Son of Man did not come to us, assuming our flesh, for any trivial cause, but for our exceeding great advantage. For He made as it were a trade with us, assuming a living body and deigning to be born of the Virgin, in order to grant us His divinity. And thus, He became man that He might make man divine.

He has come. Now it is time for us to go.

Go and examine your heart with Jesus through Mary. Go and make a new resolution for Jesus and Mary. Go and encounter the wonderous exchange!

Merry Christmas! Live it with Jesus through Mary!


Fr. Christopher Etheridge, IVE


[1]  Responsorial Psalm for Christmas Mass at Night. Cf.