Posted by: Fr Chris | December 27, 2019

Jesus’ Mother as our Mother

"Wüstenlicht" Orthodoxie-Orthodoxy : Icon of the Mother of God “the Rescuer of the Drowning”

When we have a synaxis, it means that the feast of the day comes out of and is connected to the day before.  People would gather in church on the day after Christmas to celebrate Our Lady’s role in bringing the Savior to us. So today we observe the divine maternity of Our Lady as the Theotokos, the God-bearer, the living tabernacle of Jesus Christ. The propers for today spell that out nicely:

Before the morning star, He was born of the Father without a mother; today, on earth, he has become man from you without a father. The angels join with the shepherds to sing the glory of your marvelous childbearing, O Woman Full of Grace.

Chrysostom:  Consider, O man, all creatures and see — is there anything equal or greater than the holy God bearer Mary? Consider all the visible and invisible forces and tell me — is there a wonder similar among all the creatures? … She alone miraculously conceived in her womb Him Whom all creatures praise in fear and trembling. Blessed are women, for they no longer labor under the curse. She gave birth to a child through whom she sur­passes all the angels in glory… Therefore, let us say to her: ‘Blessed are you among women! You alone removed the grief of Eve; you alone wiped away her tears; you alone brought redemption to mankind.

Valaam Icon of the Mother of God - Orthodox Church in America

But it is not all glory and honor today. The gospel text refers to suffering also when they have to flee to Egypt. This is after the presentation in the temple, where Simeon gave her the warning that her heart would be pierced by a sword. Mary and Joseph had been in Bethlehem for forty days, so the Magi must have showed up after this event, as the gospel says that the star came and stood over the house where the mother and child were, not the stable.  Possibly the Holy Family planned to stay on in the city of David, but Herod is determined to murder this new king of kings. So off they go, abandoning everything so as to save the baby Jesus from the wicked plans of a wicked king. They already had the warning from Simeon, and now this warning from God.

Being Is Good: Homily: Feast of the Holy Family

 Nothing about being the parents to Christ our God was easy. Life would not settle down for them until after Herod’s death.  So being devoted to Christ does not mean we will be spared suffering – the most holy Mother of God herself suffered for the sake for her beloved Son. We live at a time when there are more refugees around the world since World War II; there is still sickness and death in the world; every person’s life has its own challenges. But if we meet those challenges head with full confidence in God, and if we turn to Our Lady and St. Joseph to ask their intercession for us before the throne of God, we will be able to handle whatever difficulties we encounter, in the same spirit of trust and belief that Mary and Joseph had. And never forget, that the name of our parish means that Mary is constantly praying on our behalf for us before the throne of her beloved Son. May she always be our protector and helper! Christ is born!  

01 Mother of God ‘Avgustovskaya’ 3 | Voices from Russia

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