By Sharon K. Perkins
Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” ~ Matthew 1:18-23
The Nativity of Mary
I like not only to receive gifts but also to give them, especially gifts that match the personality or interests of the recipient or one that brings unexpected delight. Often that means paying special attention to things that he expresses admiration for or that she likes but wouldn’t buy for herself. And then there are the “persons who have everything,” and I haven’t a clue about a meaningful gift. (This is why prepaid gift cards have become so popular!).
Case in point: my own mother. She already has everything she needs, and what she doesn’t, she buys for herself. On her last birthday, we were packing up our house for a move, so I just browsed a store for a few cute items as a way to say, “Despite everything going on in my life, I haven’t forgotten your birthday.”
But as is often the case with aging parents that live some distance away, the gift that my mom treasures the most is my time—time for a spontaneous phone call or text message, time set aside to play her favorite game, meet for Mass, or share a meal.
The liturgical feast observed universally today by Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Christians is the Nativity of Mary, a centuries-old celebration of the birth of the Mother of Jesus based on a second-century, extra-biblical narrative called the Protoevangelium of James. It’s dated nine months after December 8, the feast of Mary’s Immaculate Conception in her mother’s womb.
Mary, my spiritual mother, has everything she could possibly need or desire. How can I best honor this incredible woman who made possible the birth of our Savior? I can give her my time—pray a rosary or Memorare, let her know I love her, or simply say, “Despite everything going on in my life, I haven’t forgotten your birthday!”
Wherever you are today, pray a “Hail Mary” with special devotion and thanksgiving for the birth of Mary, your spiritual mother.
Call to Action
Besides taking the time to honor Mary on her birthday, who is someone that you can “gift” with your time and attention? Plan today how you can give that gift and follow through.
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