In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” (Lk 2: 1-7)

What was the Most Blessed Virgin thinking, throughout this difficult, week-long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, seated on a mule when nine-months-pregnant? And what did the Theotokos think, upon arrival in Bethlehem, when there was “no place for them” there? She may have thought something along the lines of, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (cf. Mt 27: 46)

In these days leading up to the great feast of the Nativity, in the unusual circumstances of a global pandemic, let me not lose sight of the great cross taken up by the Blessed Among Women, in her unique and entirely-“un”traditional vocation and self-offering service “for the life of the world.” Her unprecedented role in this transitional period of Salvation History had no script; there was no handbook of what to expect or what to do in this role. She just had to walk through it, in faith. Thank you, Most Holy Theotokos, for guiding and inspiring many of us today in the “un”traditional vocations of this unusual year. “The true Theotokos, we magnify you!”