Catholic Scot: Mary & the Birthdays of Jesus

Yes, dear reader, I’m coasting a bit, calling your attention to some great work being done by others. Like this post, which I love.

Part of what I like here is that the author talks some about St. Joseph, Jesus’ foster father, and I think the most shortchanged of the saints. it takes quite a man, especially in their culture to go ahead and marry a pregnant girl, on the word of an angel, no less, and knowing that he would never be with his betrothed. But he did, and then proceeded to carry on, and care for and protect his little family, as long as he lived.

A model many of us guys would be well advised to emulate.

Christ Appearing to the Virgin by Follower of Rogier van der Weyden 1475


It is easy for Christians and sometimes even the Church to overlook St Joseph and his part in the Nativity seeing him as some kind of bit part player, an extra in the scene. We can be sure that this is a fault of which our Lady was never guilty. To her Joseph was a tower of strength, a friend, a faithful loving companion, the first man to hold her Jesus in his arms, to look tenderly at Him, to love Him wholeheartedly. To recall the first Christmas for Mary would also be to recall Joseph’s steadfastness in marrying her despite her pregnancy, his support and care for her and the unborn child on the journey to Bethlehem and for mother and newborn during the flight into Egypt. They shared the agony of the hunt for the lost boy Jesus through the streets and Temple courts of Jerusalem. Most of all, perhaps, they shared year after year the hidden life of working, living in a community, raising a child to manhood being lovers of God and lovers of neighbour in that greatest of all trials the seeming triviality and mediocrity of the everyday. No doubt also his presence at this intense moment of life would bring to mind the time when this just man departed from it going to his eternal rest enfolded in the love of the Virgin and the Saviour the two most important people in his life. And this points us to an essential truth about Christmas. It is a family celebration, Mary would not recall the child without recalling too the foster-father. We who are adults seldom pass a Christmas season without revisiting our childhood feasts, the parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, uncles, aunts and others who welcome or not trailed through our seasonal rejoicing and accompany us still in our fondest memories. Welcoming a child into the world is a time for bringing families together and in Jesus we welcome the universal child, our destinies and the destinies of all who are dear to us are bound up in His. If our adult selves have dispensed with the large family gatherings of the not-so-distant past we should at least bring together in our prayers those we will not or cannot bring together in the flesh.

If St Joseph is backgrounded in our Nativity scenes and cribs the shepherds and Magi are not. Whilst our Lady may have held these things in reverse order in her heart her Christmas memories would certainly not have neglected them. Most of all, I think, it would have been the shepherds whose memory she treasured. Partly because they were present on that wonderful world transforming night as the Magi were not. Partly also because the Mary who sang-
He has shown might with his arm,
dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart.
He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones
but lifted up the lowly.
The hungry he has filled with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.

Read more at: Catholic Scot: Mary & the Birthdays of Jesus.


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6 Responses to Catholic Scot: Mary & the Birthdays of Jesus

  1. the unit says:

    NEO. This throws me a bit. “and knowing that he would never be with his betrothed.” I did read the whole post, but not sure about this. Marriage has to do with consummation , sort of to know and be with. Their must be some other meaning here that escapes me. I read Jesus had brothers and sisters, which surely required “be with”.


    • the unit says:

      Maybe it’s meant never be with his betrothed until Jesus was born?


      • NEO says:

        That is the other interpretation. The evidence doesn’t seem to support it, but I’ve been wrong before


    • NEO says:

      Unit. In that society, cousins living in the household would have been considered brothers. You read me correctly, that’s the best information, although it is disputed, others believe as you do, and I doubt it to be an important thing for our faith.


  2. the unit says:

    You’re likely on you way East before I got back to the post. No it’s not important, and it’s not something I’d dispute or even believe.
    Hope the train East stops before Mecca and/or Medina. 🙂
    Think I wished you Merry Christmas, but just in case not…Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      It does, and a Merry Christmas to you, Unit. 🙂


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