I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, I listen calmly while the Angel brings me news that will shake my life beyond all measures, I accept what has been ordained for me. I am young and dressed in blue.
I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, despite riding almost 100 miles on a donkey across a dessert, and giving birth in a stable, I am immaculately clean and tidy, cradling my infant son, unperturbed by my surroundings. I am still young and dressed in blue.
I am the Mary of your Christmas cards, welcoming shepherds from the nearby fields, and strangers from afar, I look as if I am a person who treats such events as if they happen every day, calmly pondering on them in my heart. I am still young and dressed in blue.
But is this really me? Do you have any picture of me beyond that of Christmas cards?
Where is your picture of me in the Temple as Simeon tells me how a sword will pierce my soul? Do you see the terror in my eyes as I hear these words and fear what is to come?
Perhaps you have a picture of me twelve years later as I frantically search for my lost son, have I aged? Do I still look calm and serene?
Do you have a picture of me thirty years after that first image of me cradling my newborn son? Am I still dressed in blue? Are there lines on my face or grey in my hair?
Do you see me at the wedding feast, recognizing deep within that His time was coming and He would soon be no longer mine?
Do you see me hurt by His rejection when He declared that all the world was His mother and His brother and His sister? I knew that He had a greater purpose, but do not imagine that there was no pain in this for me.
How I aged in those three years, but am I still young in your picture of me? Was I not grey-haired as I stood at the foot of the cross? Do you know what it takes to watch your son being crucified? As they pierced His side, my heart too was pierced. Do you have a picture of me – in tears, distraught at the anguish of my son? Or am I still the Mary of your Christmas cards?
They laid Him in a tomb, it seemed so final, – it seemed I had lost Him forever. Where was the angel now to tell me not to be afraid? My fellow countrywomen kept vigil; I was not alone in mourning. But you, who know what happened next, do you allow me to grieve for the end I thought He’d reached?
You know the end, you know the triumph of His resurrection, the kingdom without end, and knowing this affects your picture of me. I remain always young and dressed in blue, calm and serene, humble and willing, – never allowed to show pain or fear, hurt, anguish, anger or grief.
For many I will always remain the Mary of Christmas cards, but if I am to be called Blessed, please remember ALL that I stand for. As you receive your Christmas cards this Christmas please look at me and remember – This is just the beginning!!
Kate Baker, from Hay and Stardust