It’s tough being a mother during the holiday season. We often bear the burden of making all the magic happen and fitting every seasonal activity miraculously into a single month. We bake the cookies and coordinate the outfits and wrap the gifts and stuff the stockings. Mothers try to perfectly balance making all the events happen while still maintaining peace and focusing on being present. It can be a challenging and exhausting season that can turn even a Buddy the Elf into an Ebenezer Scrooge.
I look around to find an example of a mother who somehow, despite the busyness of life, embodies the grace I strive for — who can stay focused on the right priorities like faith and family while remaining meek, selfless, and trusting. And then, when I see my own infant born at the end of December, I think of Mary. And I don’t mean Mary Hatch Bailey, though she’s another selfless, maternal example. I mean Mary, the mother of the Christ child.
As a Christian, I work to keep Christ the focal point of this season. I’ll be the first to admit that it becomes a challenge when I have to find that red dress for my daughter to wear for the holiday musical while family members are asking what else the kids need (Nothing. They need nothing). Sometimes working to keep Christ as the center of the season means playing instrumental Christmas hymns on Alexa while I’m baking cookies for the upcoming Bake & Take. I recently found myself humming along, even breaking into lyrics in the kitchen at different songs, when Silent Night stopped me in my tracks.
I envisioned the night after such a wondrous experience of Christ’s birth — the ironic quiet in spite of the magnitude of what just happened and how it would impact the world. After an arduous journey and unimaginable circumstances of delivery, all was calm, all was bright around that holy infant so tender and mild.
And though the birth of Christ is unarguably the miracle of Christmas, I can’t help but also be inspired by Mary’s meek miracle of saying yes. Aware of the risk and potential danger it put her in, when the angel of the Lord appeared to her with an unearthly request to “conceive and bring forth … the Son of God,” Mary incredibly responded with, “I am the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Though she could have been stoned, she trusted in the Lord. Meanwhile, I can’t figure out how we’ll be able to afford all the unnecessary stuff that makes up the holiday season. I stress and worry, yet no one’s life is on the line. I forget to trust in the Lord all the time, but Mary never did. From the beginning of her son’s life until the infamous end, she trusted. Early on, she and her husband even moved to a foreign land to protect their new child because they trusted a dream.
I’m a cradle Catholic, so my respect for Mary runs deep. In her, I have that example of selflessness, willingness, trust, meekness, and humility. She presents an impossible standard for mothers but one worth striving for nonetheless. During this season, I’m making it my goal to remember her example while celebrating her son. In ensuring peace, joy, and love for my family this Christmas, I’m striving to have myself a Mary little Christmas.