What shall we offer You, O Christ, Who for our sakes have appeared on earth as a man? Every creature made by You offers You thanks: the Angels offer a hymn; the heavens, a star; the Wise Men, gifts; the shepherds, their wonder; the earth, its cave; the wilderness, a manger, and we offer You a virgin Mother!// O Pre-eternal God, have mercy on us!“ (Stichera from Byzantine Vespers of Nativity)

Indeed, She, the Holy Virgin, is offered. She is offered as the best “we“ have to offer. And by “we“ we mean “She,“ as one of us. Because She is the one who makes this decision, to offer Her life, Her entire being, body and soul, to the service of God’s plan. She offers Herself up to the mystery of the Incarnation, from the moment She says “let it be“ to the angel (Lk 1: 38). This decision, made by Her, meant a life of extreme trials, insecurity, and pain, particularly when “a sword“ was to “pierce Her soul“ at Her Son’s crucifixion, as prophesied by St. Symeon (Lk 2: 35).

Today we share in Mary’s unique self-giving, as members of one Body of Christ, and we gratefully celebrate it, particularly on the great feast of our Lord’s Nativity. Because it is through Her birth that we receive new life, new communion, and a new capacity to give, to create, and to grow in His grace. Let me stay close to Her now, in my thoughts and prayers, as we enter the feast, being there to greet Him, at the side of His Virgin Mother. For our sake She gives birth to a little Child, so that we don’t remain barren and alone. “Today the Virgin gives birth to the transcendent One.“ Glorify Him!

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