If some of you are like me, the title to this post bothers you because it seems to be misspelled.  I saw it on a note written by one of my students’ parents, thanking me for caring for her child. It was nice to be remembered at Christmas, and the child wrote her own special note at the top of the card.

‘Mary Christmas. Jordanne.’

A nice gesture for a seven year old, to be sure. I couldn’t help smiling as I looked at the card. My first thought was that it was misspelled, my second was that it was a nice gesture, and then, as I started thinking more about it, I realized just how appropriate it actually is. After all, Mary, the mother of Jesus, is also the mother of Christmas.  So, what does it mean to have a Mary Christmas? Does it mean celebrating Christmas with your children? Perhaps.  I can only imagine what it would be like to celebrate with my own children, since I don’t have any. The closest I can come is celebrating with my niece.

I think there’s more to having a Mary Christmas than that, though. After all, Mary had no children before Jesus. Can you imagine planning your wedding, minding your own business, and being confronted by an angel.  Not only an angel, but an angel who comes in and completely changes everything you thought you knew about your future plans.

Imagine being told that you are going to have a baby, outside of marriage, in a time and a place where such things are punishable by death.  Imagine the fear, the uncertainty, and the knowledge that your claims of propriety might not be given much credibility, when the apparent evidence to the contrary is readily apparent. Imagine the trust, the faith that had to be involved in Mary’s willingness to be an instrument of God’s plan.  Finally, imagine the day and night of Jesus’ birth.  Walking all day down a hot, dusty road, pregnant, with several dozen of your closest friends and neighbors. Finding no rooms for rent for the night, and knowing you are close to giving birth. Bedding down in a stable, giving birth on hay, and laying your baby in a feeding trough.

Yes, saying Mary Christmas is appropriate. For the first gift of Christmas is a child. A child born to a Virgin mother. Thus, the prophecy is fulfilled and the world receives its Savior.