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"Mary" - Feast of the Nativity - December 18, 2022

Updated: Jan 12

I absolutely loved Monica’s sermon this past Sunday. If you missed it, go find it online and give

it a listen – you’ll be glad you did. I appreciated how she brought out the story of Joseph,

humanized him, made his story accessible, made his faith possible. So, in keeping with that

spirit – how about on this night, this Feast of the Nativity, we look at another member of the

family we call “Holy.” The one who brought Jesus into this world.

When I was growing up - it was always the pretty girls in the youth group that got to play her at

the annual church Christmas pageants. The girls you had a crush on the whole year, except on

Christmas Eve – because on that night there was something different about them. No one was

looking for the Mother of our Lord beneath the mistletoe. You had to wait until New Year’s Eve.

Maybe you could steal a kiss.

Honestly, I didn’t give much thought to Mary, mother of Jesus – I didn’t really care. Even after

becoming an Episcopalian, I didn’t really care. I cared after becoming a father.

I cared after watching my wife bring our first born into this world. I remember holding Simon in

our hospital room, looking at Ericka asleep and thinking, “She did this…she cared for this child

for nine months, she’s connected to him in this primordial way, how amazing, I’m such a selfish

jackass, God I will never be a selfish jackass again…I will treat this woman like a queen.”

And that brothers and sisters is what you call an empty promise. Because after a week of

waking to a crying baby three to four times a night – nobody was treating anybody like royalty.

But…even after all that…I started seeing Mary differently. Started listening to her more intently,

especially this time of year when we get to hear her song – the Magnificat….(found in the

gospel of Luke)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit exults in God my savior.

There’s been all kinds of people who’ve seen Mary in all kinds of ways through the centuries.

Painters, poets, composers, theologians, historical scholars…on and on. Who she seems to have

appeared to the most, though, are children – on playgrounds, amid their dizzying laughter and

skinned knees, or in the fields while they tended sheep – one second walking a pasture,

morning dew and dung clung to their shoes – the next standing in a field of golden light with

the sun dancing in the sky. That’s how they described the experience…like the sun was dancing.

I don’t know. There’s a skeptic in me like there’s a skeptic in you – but maybe just as it took a

mother to bring the Christ child into the world, maybe it takes a child to bring the mother back

into it.

People see her in other ways too. There’s a story about G.K. Chesterton, the brilliant 19 th

century writer and apologist. He wanted to donate an ikon or statue to his local parish in

Beaconsfield. He went to a rather large repository in London to find an image that represented

most faithfully his inner vision of Mary. None of the ones on display satisfied him. Finally, the