2010, USA. Before Halloween, Christmas decorations graced the walls of shops and malls. Thanksgiving (a day usually reserved for family and community gatherings), stores began opening their doors to initiate the Christmas shopping season. The following day (officially dubbed Black Friday), throngs of people crowded the sidewalks outside of stores across this nation, many camping through Thanksgiving night to get the best bargains for Christmas giving. In many parts of the country, when store doors opened to the crowds, many adventurers got more than they bargained for. In the spirit of the Christmas rush many were crushed beneath the feet and bodies of anxious fellow shoppers.
At its best, Christmas celebrations, the decorations, Christmas trees and lights, parties, great food and laughter, the glitter, Christmas carols and church services bring joy and unification. But on the other side of the coin, it seems we have strayed from the true atmosphere of what the month of December really represents. It seems we have placed our attention on things rather than Christ.
There is a deeper meaning to this season’s greeting of Merry Christmas. Perhaps, what our hearts are actually saying is, “Mary Christ Mass.” We might ask if December 25th is the actual date the Christ Child was born onto this planet. Or did we attach an idea to an ancient pagan ritual? There are records and writings that dispute the date. But in this day and age, what matters more than a particular timeframe, is the real and potent feelings that go with thoughts about Christ and the Holy Family, and about the message that Family brought to enrich our lives.
This season is about the Family! The Family of man and the Family of Christ is one Family. I cannot think about Christmas without thinking about Mary and Joseph who gave their lives to bring forth the Christ Child and to devote themselves to the life of Christ.
The Seasons of Mary
In springtime, when the first shoots of yellow daffodils appear, I remember Mary, the child. I wonder if she was apprehensive (at three years old), and even afraid when her parents gave her to the Temple—the place she would live as a virgin until her fourteenth year. The Temple virgins (all given in their third year), were educated in reading, math, language and astronomy. They were immersed in religious laws. And they were taught art, music, dance, culinary skills and all manner of refinements. The Temple virgins were trained to become the wives of prominent men. Mary’s desire, however, was to remain a virgin anointed only by God.
When summer roses unfold their tight new buds and open their petals wide to receive the light of the sun, I think of Mary. A girl who agreed to an unimaginable experience; to be impregnated by the Hand of God. I think of her innocence and her courage. I envision the way she responds to the first stirrings of the Child that Archangel Gabriel promised her. I see her sitting in the folds of a desert willow, its floating stem-like branches alive with pale lavender-yellow blossoms, fragrantly framing her small body, her hand resting softly on her slightly swollen belly.
As autumn appears, thoughts of Mary, the woman, drift into my mind like leaves released from a flaming red maple tree. I see her heart-shaped face. Her grey-green eyes, flecked with gold, are framed by beautifully arched pale-brown eyebrows and high cheek bones. Her skin is tawny, her hair is amber and sun streaked, creating what seems to be a glow about her head. Her belly now extended, is so large her hips can barely support its weight. Her back is arched forward yet her head is held high. The moment is close and so is the trial.
Winter. Mary’s time for reflection on the gift that she is about to present. From the Temple of her body she will release God’s greatest gift, the Life, the Truth and the Way. And man will celebrate the Coming for many years to follow. And the world will call it Christmas.
Mary is more than a girl, a virgin, a mother, a Spirit. She is our Mother looking after her kids. Overtime, Mary has appeared before the innocent and those devoted to Love. In Fatima, Guadalupe, and Lourdes, in Russia, Yugoslavia, and Puerto Rico, in Texas, New Mexico, and even Beaver Hollow, Arizona, the Spirit of Mary appears before throngs and to many individuals as well. As before, the Virgin comes in the Immaculate Conception, to birth an age of wisdom, peace and absolute tolerance. Mary’s message for us (at this time), is, “All the experiences and mistakes of this world will fade and die the moment you choose the Light of God. Allow your mind to return to your true nature. You are as innocent as the day God designed you. Humanity is The Immaculate Concept. Be who you are. I am returning the truth to you. My Son has never left you. Your suffering is complete and soon you will know Christ again for with him comes your resurrection.”
I’d like to quote my dear and departed friend Damien Simpson, founder of U.M.S. Learning Center. “Mary is the tender representation of the female aspect of God. She comes to us today with the great announcement of the Return of the Spirit of Christ. She appears before the devout because Christ is once again about to appear. Mary and Christ together represent the ceasing of man’s inhumanity to man.”
Today, we approach the Coming of Christ once more. During the celebration of the Holy Days that lie before us let us remember the Family. For within the family unit is strength, unity, safety and fulfillment. And let us not forget our extended Family—all sentient beings. Perhaps the most important lesson Christ taught us is that it takes a team to do God’s work. There is a global team ready and waiting!
Christ is alive in our hearts. So is the Virgin—willingness. The Madonna—dedication to the work at hand. And Father Joseph—provider.
In the wisdom words of Mother Mary, “Let it be.” We cannot change trouble. But we can create Love and charity. Christmas time reminds us to embrace goodness, compassion, generosity and sharing. And we can embrace each other. The Family of Man—the Family of God. This is who we are.
The month of December brings us a story of courage, strength and devotion. The First Family invites you to Their Table. Expect miracles and you shall see them.