This Week's Sunday Message

Mary Did You Know?

Reverend Arlyn Macdonald Picture

The words to this haunting new Christmas song speak to the heart of every Mother. "Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?” Each new Mother desires that her newborn baby will grow into an extraordinary person that one day might even perform miracles. For each baby is born with the hope and vision that, somehow, he or she will help to create a better tomorrow.

When a Mother looks at and holds her baby for the first time, her heart is so full that the tears come tumbling down her face despite her fatigue – This miracle has come through me. I am a holy channel for this new life." She holds her baby and tenderly counts all the fingers and toes, marveling in this tiny perfect life.

I can imagine how Mary must have felt. She certainly didn't have an easy birthing, riding a donkey for hours in the heat and dust, then not finding even a small quiet room to rest and focus on the incredible process of giving birth. I would have been glad to find a cool stable or animal cave if I had endured all this when it was time to give birth. I was happy to read that some stories say Mary did have a midwife with her, that she was not alone to do this woman thing. Women need each other during this holy and sacred act.

I was asleep for the birth of my first child, my daughter Shawni, who came into the world weighing only 5 lbs. 2 oz. I did not know that I had given birth to a girl child. I thought I had given birth to a boy, an 8 lb. boy to be exact as I told everyone in my groggy state. (Strange that my next two children – both boys weighed 8 lbs.) I didn't even get to hold her right after she was born. I could only look at her hours later through the nursery window. I was not allowed to go into the nursery and take her in my arms or feed her. The worst thing was that I did not even know that I could have demanded my own child to be placed in my arms. I was so young and the doctors and nurses so full of authority denying me the right to hold my child. I was finally allowed to hold her after 2 weeks when we came to take her home.

The song goes on to ask, "Mary, did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?" Through this process of giving birth, women are made new. Their bodies undergo a tremendous transformation as do their minds and emotions. We are made new so that we can care for this new life. We will never be the same again. This is also true for those men who are present and support their partners through this entire birthing process. They are also made new, called upon to find more supportive strength and tenderness and often see their wives with new eyes.

Every human being goes through this birthing process every time we conceive a new idea. We grow this new idea in the very depths of us, feeding it and giving it life and if we have nurtured it with spiritual food and held onto its sacred vision, this new idea comes forth into manifestation with the hope that it too will create a better life.

And we are made new with this birth. Every action is born from an idea. Every idea is born from a dream, a vision. Every dream is a gift from God, a sacred miracle waiting for us to become the co-creators we are meant to be, to birth, to manifest the vision into reality. This is the true miracle of birth.

When my oldest son was being born, we were in the sterile delivery room, everyone was masked and gowned, and the doctor asked if I wanted to watch the baby coming out. I started to say "no" because I have never liked anything medical. But before I could answer, the nurse adjusted the small round mirror above me and I became transfixed with the sight of the tiny head with pink hair coming into the world. I could not take my eyes away from that holy sight. And when my son, Patrick, was placed in my arms right after he was born, I cried and cried and cried. Not from fear, but from an incredible joy. And I was made new. Perhaps that is part of the reason that I later became a child birth coach and joined a midwife team to help other women experience that sacred joy.

This is what the Christmas story is really about. It is about the miracle of new life. It is about all of us, men and women alike, remembering the hope, joy, peace and love that we can bring into the world through the sacredness of our Divine life. This is why everything is sacred. It was all created with Love, by Love, and through Love. And this Love makes us new.

"Mary, did you remember that this holy child has walked where angels trod, and that when you kissed his tiny face, you kissed the Face of God?" We kiss the Face of God every time we touch creation, whether it is an idea, a tiny baby, a new leaf in spring or the cold snow of winter. Every time we feel the wind blew gently across our cheeks, it is God kissing us back. Every time a child runs into our arms and plants wet kisses on our noses, God is kissing us back. Every time we have an emotion or a thought, it is God reaching out to touch us.

Christmas is a holy time, a sacred time, to remember this Light of God being reborn in our hearts. We never lose it, it never goes out. It burns eternally in that most reverent place within us. The Christmas story is our story too. We come bringing our Light to Bethlehem again, the place of purity and peace, with Mary, our Heart and Joseph, our Mind, to be reborn and laid in a manger, a place symbolizing simplicity and understanding. We are reminded by the shepherds, our emotions, and the Wise Men, our enlightened thoughts, of who we really are – a Beloved Child of the Great Divine Mystery, whose Christed-Light was placed in each and everyone of us. We are the Light of Christmas. We too are the Light of the World.

This Christmas take time to be in the quiet and peacefulness of winter to remember who you are, that the Christmas story is your story, and that you are reborn every moment of your life and made new in the holiness of the Divine Spirit. May all that is holy and sacred bless you at this Christmas time and carry you new into the coming year. Namaste.