Interesting what happens when you take a phrase and re-phrase it a bit. You can take well-known stories, and with small, simple shifts of words new ones can be spun.
This isn’t a religious post – not in a sectarian sense of the word. It’s a spiritual one.
It’s about thinking in ways we don’t usually think. It’s about plumbing the meaning under the phrases we take for granted and hearing the message afresh.
Christmas – it’s a day in which a large part of our world celebrates the birth of a boy, a Faith in the coming of their God. Different theological scholars have different ideas about the exact date of this boy’s birth: some assert December 25, others April 17.
Whatever the truth (or Truth), we all know that every day a child is born…millions of times a day. Every day, millions of women give birth. Every day, they bring entire universes into ours. It happens on December 25. It happens on April 17. It happens every day of the calendar.
When we utter a simple phrase, what do we understand? What do we hear? What do we process?
For some, “Merry Christmas” is a secular greeting – a respectful acknowledgement of others’ religious beliefs. For others it’s an intended expression and cherishing of Faith.
And yet…language has a way of influencing us, of lulling us into routine courses of thinking.
You see: I titled this post “Christmas Mary”. Most of you would expect me to say “Merry Christmas ____” if I were to write a “Christmas” blog post. But I didn’t phrase it that way. I wrote:
“Christmas Mary? Who is Christmas Mary??”
When people think of Christmas they probably think of that little boy – the symbolism, the meaning, the Faith that was labored. In other words (for some), Christmas is “Jesus’ Day”.
But – according to who and what you believe – it was Mary’s day too.
Mary labored into our universe a universe.
Mary labored to bring into the world a child whom she would come to witness playing, laughing, crying, growing, studying, questioning, preaching, rebelling, suffering, dying.
Mary’s dead child – resurrected in the eyes of a belief system of a very large religion – would be remembered for thousands of years to atheists, agnostics, heretics and the Faithful.
Every day, there is a mother out there who lives out some stage of Mary’s life.
Christmas Mary is not an orthodox expression. In fact it’s not one I’m using in any religious sense. It’s just a call to re-mind. A re-membering.
Remember who you are. Remember who brought you here. Remember that you were once a child.
Remember that it’s your day too.
Whether your birth or childhood was healthy or traumatic, moments of peace were there the whole time. Can you re-member them – cull them together and resurrect what had died? Can you re-mind yourself, even if for the moment?
Because the moment is all we have. And it’s always here. Right here. It’s more certain than death and taxes.
The moment is simultaneously crucified and resurrected by time.
Christmas Mary is whomever you want her to be. She can be a “her” or a “Her”.
When you hear, or say, “Merry Christmas”, think about Christmas Mary for a moment.
What does she tell you? What does she re-mind you of?
Merry Christmas, readers! I love you.
I love you because we share an ancient but common mother who went through all of the joys and griefs of being a mother – without which none of us would be here.
Today, I am remembering her as Christmas Mary.