Christmas in September?

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"Christmas in September?" by Susan Anderson (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2017 Susan Anderson. All rights reserved.

 

The timing maybe a bit off, because it is September, and not even Advent. I continue my series on the Mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary with the Nativity of Our Lord. This important mystery (another word for truth) brings us down to a child’s eye level. This is where I hear God’s voice, best. I’m unencumbered by the sanctimonious strain of western Christian culture. It really comes down to my relationship with the Blessed Mother and her Son, Jesus.

I can imagine my skeptics saying, “Your relationship with Mary is just as important as your relationship with Jesus?! But there is only one mediator! Mary is not the Savior!” True, true to the last two. I answer you with a question. Let me ask you something about your own earthly mother. Also, think of your own role as a mother. Do you love your mom? Is she a good mom? Whether she is a model of motherly perfection, the antithesis of it, or somewhere in between, (like me), how does she influence your relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ? Does she detract you from Him, lead you to him, or maybe in spite of her, cause you to run screaming towards Him? In any of the three cases, I believe God created mothers to be the most powerful people in the world. Mary, the Mother of God is our model of a true Christian. She is where our fellowship and communion with Jesus begins. The few times Our Lady speaks in Sacred Scripture encapsulates who she is. She only points us to Jesus. Remember the wedding miracle at Cana when she said to the servants, “Do whatever He tells you to do”? (John 2:5)

When my kids were little, I was a stickler about observing Advent during Advent and not full-out celebrating Christmas until December 24th. Now we did put up our tree early in the month, listen to the holier Christmas carols, make cookies, hang candy canes and pass the time with warm cocoa and not opening every cardboard window on the Advent calendar all in one day. Where I was strict was only reading the children’s picture books about Christmas during these seasons. Sometimes a stray would show up in a little lap in mid-summer, and it would bug me. The red and green illustrations sitting in the middle of cherubic chubby legs in shorts and sandals, whilst a sticky orange popsicle dripped on the pages, seemed untimely and inappropriate. I thought it may be confusing for my littles to discuss Christmas and I was afraid they may tire of the message and meaning of Christmas if  they saw it too much. At least I tried.

One plus about the Rosary though, is that we revisit the Mysteries of Christ all year long. Who hasn’t thought, why can’t Christmas be every day of the year? I offer to you that by focusing on these essential events, a little each day, we center ourselves on Christ. Remember the verse, “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

That’s the Rosary, folks.

For more about how the Rosary works, how it is prayed, and why, please refer to this link http://www.theholyrosary.org/

In beginning the Rosary, we always make the sign of the cross, starting with three fingers, touching the forehead, “In the name of the Father,” then we find our heart, touch and say, “And the Son,” and then we cross our shoulders from left to right, “And of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

First things first, right?! To me, I see this as obedience to the first commandment, “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, mind, and soul.”

Since we cannot separate the first two commandments, the first is most necessary to the second, which enables us to love neighbors as ourselves.

Then we recite the Apostles’ Creed: http://www.catholic.org/prayers/prayer.php?p=220

Warning: this link has sound and music. That’s why I chose it. So if you’re up in the middle of the night with one of your epiphanic, solitude moments, turn down your speaker.

Between the crucifix and the first set of decade beads, a large bead for the Our Father, then three smaller beads are strung to denote three Hail Mary prayers for an increase in faith, hope, and love. For me, these have developed into peace for the world, and penance for my personal intentions. Here I lift up my children, their friends, and my friends, people in need of special intercession, etc. Throughout my Rosary meditation, if a person comes to mind, they are lifted up to God then, as well.

On to the Mystery of the Nativity of Our Lord!

We begin with another Our Father prayer.

Following are ten thoughts of meditation for each Hail Mary.

Every time I pray it, it varies, with the central focus using imagery and Scripture on that first Noel. I invite you to use your imagination, asking the Holy Spirit to show you what it is you need to love your Lord and your neighbor deeper for this day.

  1. “The first Noel, the angels did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they they lay…”  Humility. Humility was born here. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

  2. The Creator of the ends of the earth, of whom there is no searching His understanding, humbled Himself to be born of a woman; a sanctified sinless woman, through God’s grace. Hail Mary, full of grace …

  3. Until Eve sinned, she was sinless too. Mary, the new Eve, chose to say YES! That these two women were sinless points to what God originally intended for each of us. It doesn’t negate the truth that Jesus came to save mankind from sin. Because God created us with the ability to choose, it was, is, and will be necessary that he sacrifice Himself upon the cross as expiation and means for eternal life with Him in Heaven. Hail Mary, full of grace

  4. Jesus, fully human, fully divine, chose to dwell within Mary, our first tabernacle. This just blows my mind and heart wide open! Hail Mary, full of grace 

  5. Picture Mary, seated upon the donkey and Joseph obediently leading his Holy Family to Bethlehem among rugged terrain. Hail Mary, full of grace

  6. Imagine the rejection of Jesus, from this humble beginning, as Mary and Joseph were turned away at every inn. Hail Mary, full of grace

  7. See the stable, smell the hay, hear the bray of the donkey, the moo of the cattle, the baaahhh, of the little lamb. Hail Mary, full of grace

  8. A feeding trough, the manger was Jesus’ crib. Hail Mary, full of grace

  9. Swaddling clothes. A morbid foreboding of what would be Jesus’ destiny for the sake of mankind. Hail Mary, full of grace 

  10. Shepherds, clothed in rustic burlap, tattered, yet durable. They smelled like the sheep they herded. Privileged and chosen to see and hear choirs of angels. Hail Mary, full of grace

These are just ten. A smattering of prayerful thoughts. As I said before, meditation and contemplation varies with mood and circumstances. When not prayed mechanically, the Rosary is wonderfully different every time. Glory!

 


Copyright 2017 Susan Anderson

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About Author

Susan Anderson is a wife and mother of six. A convert at age 33, she is an avid fan of Mary and keeps her sanity through rosary prayer. She helps Rob, her husband, at Cactus Game Design, provider of Bible based games and toys. Her book, Paul’s Prayers, is about her oldest autistic son. She likes music, jogging, swimming, and redoing thrift store furniture.

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