In the past, it has seemed odd to me that we celebrate the birthday of Jesus’ mother. We don’t know the date, of course. So celebrating it seems to the more sensate types a bit over the top. A nice thought but do we need to make a whole liturgy of it?
The Eastern Churches go beyond that. They make the Birthday of Mary the first day of the year. For in the instant of the conception of the life that would turn out to be Mary of Nazareth, in that instant the history of human redemption started. She did nothing, of course; she was given fleshly life and an immortal soul and an earthly mission. She accepted. She always would. This is how the Christians in the oldest part of the Church think.
It has taken me a while to get over the feeling that celebrating the Lady Mary’s birthday is nice, but nothing more. I no longer think that way – or rather, feel that way. The truth has come home to me that “celebration” is not a brainy exercise, not something we reason our way to.
We celebrate what thrills our hearts. We rejoice at what gives us delight and hope. Think about it this way: what son or daughter would not consider their mother’s birthday (and conception before that) a pretty good thing? Would we feel it was no big thing? And suppose you’re a king or a queen: Ditto on your lady mother.
Well, the Lady Mary gave birth to Jesus of Nazareth. And through her son, she gave birth to the redeemed people who are Christ’s Mystical Body.
Of course we celebrate it!