Hail Mary, Mother of God

Happy December! It is officially the Christmas season! It is so incredibly easy for us to forget why we’re celebrating. As much as we love decorating, exchanging gifts, baking cookies, and spending time with our loved ones, there is a much bigger picture that we often lose sight of. During the Christmas season, we are celebrating the coming of the Christ child. I think a lot of Christians forget to see Jesus as just that: a child. He came into this world just as the rest of us did – vulnerable, completely dependent on the care of others, and human. Take some time to truly appreciate that.

Other denominations of Christianity tend to accuse Catholics of ‘Mary worship’. They do not understand why we pray to her. They tell us what we are doing is wrong and blasphemous. Here’s my personal take on the subject.

Mary delivered the son of God. She held him, clothed him, bathed him, and fed him. Can you imagine knowing that your infant son would someday save the world?  Think about the babies you’ve held, the toddlers you’ve cared for, and the older children you’ve watched grow. Jesus went through all those life changes. Mary watched her son grow into a man. She watched him perform miracle after miracle. She saw the Romans whip him. She saw the crown of thorns. She saw him carry the cross, bloodied and beaten. Mary was at his feet when he took his final breath.

As a Catholic, I love the Blessed Mother. I do not worship her. I adore her for many reasons. She was the very vessel through which God chose to bring his only son into the world. Of all the ways that Jesus could have come to live among us, God entrusted a young, unmarried girl to carry his son, deliver him, raise him to adulthood, AND instill in him an unwavering faith. Jesus’s first graces and miracles were given through Mary. Elizabeth’s child leaped in her womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Jesus turned water to wine at Mary’s request. Even as he suffered unimaginable pain on the cross for our sins, Jesus ensured that John would care for Mary. There is no denying her importance.

As a Catholic, I believe only Jesus can intercede directly on my behalf. He is the sole mediator between us and God. However, that does not mean that I do not pray to Mary. I ask her to pray for me, the same way I would ask a friend to pray for me. The Bible urges us to pray for each other. Why should asking Mary to pray on our behalf be considered any different?

This Christmas season, try to remember Jesus as he came into this world. Remember his mother, Mary, and her role in his life.

Below is one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs. Last year, my sister was pregnant with my nephew around this time. I heard this particular version of the song and was brought to tears. It was so easy for me to imagine how scared Mary must have felt when she was carrying Jesus. I was finally able to see Mary as a young, pregnant girl, rather than a strong, stoic woman. For me, it is so much easier to relate to her in that way.

This holiday season, I am thankful for not only the health and happiness of my loved ones, but also for my faith. I hope that each and every one of you has a joyous Christmas. God bless.

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