A Reflection for the Feast of Mary, Mother of God: January 1, 2021


And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. (Lk 2:19)

The December sky this particular night seemed to dance with stars. There was something in the night air that spoke of great things, things yet to be revealed. As the local shepherds made their way in the glimmer of these stars, a strange excitement drew them on. They were looking for a stable in Bethlehem where, of all things, they were to find a man and woman, taking shelter there. The woman, Mary, had just given birth to her first child and she and her husband Joseph took shelter in the stable for lack of room at the local inn. The gentle glow of their lamp revealed a young family in its soft light. There was a tiny baby wrapped in swaddling bands and this infant was lying on fresh, sweet hay in which Mary had tenderly lain the child. They drew their gaze from the child to the poor shepherds who made their entrance and approached them.

The shepherds had a message! This child would be great, the Son of God! He would deliver his people Israel. Mary knew in her heart the truth of these words. She had said ‘yes’ to the plan of God to yield her body to welcome the Word made one of us, and her life to the plan of love that the LORD  had been carefully bringing about for centuries. And there, with the golden glow of the lamp caressing his face, was the fruit of her trust and love in this God who meant everything to her. Her ‘Yes, let it be done’ was born to her and Joseph. The Son of God was also her son, her tender infant.

How could this be? No one seemed to provide any answers. Not Gabriel the Angel, not the shepherds. Mary’s ‘yes’ had plunged her into mystery. The mystery hidden for ages in God. She was not given a print-out of all that lay ahead. But it was enough for her to continue her journey into the mystery ever deeper.

Still… What must have passed through your heart, Mary, Mother of God, as this mystery was made part of your life. “How can this be?” you whispered to the angel at the Annunciation. Did you whisper it now, under the twinkling stars, as you beheld your baby? Such mystery! What did you do? You kept all these things, this precious mystery, and placed them in your heart to reflect upon through all life’s journey until finally as mystery became fulfillment you were welcomed into the immensity of God, this God you loved with all your heart. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God!