“Today, the Virgin is on her way, to a cave where she will give birth….” It is finally upon us. We are all making that traverse with the Blessed Mother, as she prepares to give birth to the Son of God Incarnate – Christ, Our Lord. Tonight we sing so many wonderful hymns, celebrating this amazing occurrence. For most of us, it is comforting to know we believe and celebrate something that took place, at a specific time in history, and we’ve been celebrating it for centuries. Of course, the scientist in me is thinking, “She did not have Christ on December 25th; it’s really a pagan holiday the Church stole…since people were celebrating anyway, they decided to use this holiday and make it a Holy-Day.” Also, “Well, it has been proven now that Christ was probably born about 3 or 4 years earlier.” The calendar dates we use all start at 1A.D. because there is no zero year- of course, they changed that now, too. It is no longer the “BC” and “AD” we are all familiar with. It is now “BCE” – “Before the Christian Era,” and “C.E.” or the “Christian Era” in some circles, or “Common Era” in others. Some scientists don’t want our calendar to reflect faith, so they use BCE to mean “Before the Common Era” and CE as the “Common Era.” Whatever. To those of us who can see with the eyes of faith, science is nice, but it doesn’t determine faith. Science gave us electric lights for our Christmas trees and our homes, but it does not tell us how to use those lights! As Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark.”
As a believing Christian woman, I feel very connected to the Mother of my Lord in the sense that she went, headlong into the dark of the night, preparing to give birth to the Son of God…and “she knew all these things and kept them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19). She was a woman of deep faith and that faith guided all her decisions, all her choices. She went with St. Joseph to Bethlehem; and when he told her Angels had warned him in a dream to flee (Matthew 2:13) she followed him without question. Oh, to have that faith, to share in that complete devotion to the Word of God! I try; I really do. Each and every day, when I get up, I INTEND to have a day, devoted to God; so many of us start each day with good intentions….
The day that Mary said her “Fiat” or her “Yes” to God was a day that she began an incredible journey, a journey of faith, to bring God to us, in the form of a baby. Imagine if we all could start a day like that, just climbing up onto that donkey and heading off into the night. Today, I am walking with Mary and Joseph, as they head into that Cave. My preparations are not as taxing, but they do intimidate me just a bit. I am heading to Safeway, to push the crowds out of the way, to get my Turkey. Reminds me of the movie, “Christmas with the Kranks” where Mrs. Krank wants that “Honey-Baked Ham” for her daughter, even willing to bribe a lady in the check out line for that last Ham. So funny. Me; not that desperate. I did admit to my husband’s Uncle Bill that I am a little intimidated, cooking for he and Uncle Don, the gourmet cooks. He laughed when I said, “I chose Turkey because it is just a big chicken and how hard can it be??” I know it is almost sacrilegious to compare Mary’s journey and Her birthing Christ to my trip to Safeway and baking a Turkey, but the point is we need to unite all we do to that of the Holy Family. Whether we acknowledge the year as AD or CE; whether we have faith or we don’t and we see those Christmas lights as that Star above the Manger, or just pretty lights, we can all unite ourselves to God’s commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Tonight and tomorrow, I will do that in cooking and preparing for my family; in providing a Christmas meal and place to relax where I can love them with the Love of Christ, which is far more perfect than my own attempts at loving.