Why do you marvel, O Mary? Why are you amazed at what has come to pass? ’I have given birth in time to a timeless Son; I cannot explain how He was conceived in me. I have known no man; how then shall I bear a child? Who has ever seen a birth without seed? When God so wills, as it is written: The order of nature is overcome. Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem of Judah.“ (Kathisma-Hymn, Byzantine Matins of the Nativity)

Here is a rare example of the Church contemplating the Virgin Mary’s human limitations. She observed that “the order of nature is overcome“ in Her world-changing Birth, but did not understand “how.“ What She did know was “Who,“ but not “how.“ That is to say, She knew that it was God Who “so wills“ it, but the rest She “cannot explain.“

As those of us on the Older Calendar begin the celebration of our Lord’s birth, let me direct my focus on “Who“ it is that is born as one of us, and to one of us; to a young Virgin who could not explain “how“ this happened. “Christ is born of the Virgin in Bethlehem of Judah.“ Glorify Him!

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