The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas: E

The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas
E – Eve and the Ever-Virgin Mary
5th in the Series: See the previous – The ABC’s of Why we need Christmas: D

nativity2Over the past Sundays of Advent, I have spoken with you about Why We Need Christmas. We need Christmas because each of us are going to die, we need Christmas in order to live, We need Christmas because it is the only way for us to Know God and have Communion with Him, We need Christmas to create in us a desire to return to God even when we have gone astray and forgotten Him.
Christmas, the birth of the Messiah, is God’s gift to us and to the entire world. It is a beautiful gift, the absolute best present anyone can give or receive. Yet, sometimes, we completely forget the gift and are entharalled with all the glitzy wrapping paper. For much of the way that Christmas is celebrated in our lives – the decorations, the beautifully wrapped gifts, the lights, the parties, the food, the music, the spirit – is really only the decorative wrapping paper. It attracts our attention, and makes something look good and desireable, but its beauty is also a bit seductive because it distracts us from the gift, and even takes over our desires. The gift of Christmas, God sending His Son into the world to give us life, is lost in the midst of decorations and trees and presents and food. The gift wrapping comes to be our object of desire and ends up not only hiding the gift but leading us to love the wrapping and ignoring the gift.

Can we really ignore the gift and desire the wrapping?

Yes, it can happen. It happens in life, especially the spiritual life when we allow our hearts and minds to become double or triple minded. At just about every Liturgy we sing the Beatitudes. One of the verses says (Matthew 5:8):
Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” It has been pointed out that the purity of heart means an undivided love for God. It means single-minded devotion to the Lord. Purity of heart means we do not allow into our hearts any other object of desire to compete with our relationship with God. Purity of heart is one goal of the spiritual life along our sojourn to the Kingdom of Heaven. It means we remove from our heart all other competing desires and come to see and love God first and foremost. To put it in other words, (Matthew 6:33) as the Lord Jesus taught us, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Only when we learn to love God with a singleness of heart, with purity of heart, will we learn how to love others or appreciate other objects we desire.
Singleness of heart, purity of heart is what Eve, the fore-mother of us all, lost. This loss of singleness of heart allowed love for objects other then God to enter into her heart, and the rest is history. Listen to what led Eve to sin in Genesis 3:6:

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

 Eve was tempted by the externally looks, she forgot what was contained in the wrapping. Eve lost her purity of heart, her single-hearted devotion for God, and got so tempted by the good looking wrapping she forgot about the gift of God and took a desireable looking fruit and ate it. How similar her actions to ours when we desire all the external wrappings (or perhaps properly called the trappings). Eve of course knew nothing about Christmas. In every sense she did Christmas in reverse of us. She ignored the gift of God, fell for the external wrapping of something else and lost the gift of God. Our temptation is to see the gift of God wrapped in the way our society keeps Christmas and to totally fall in love with the wrapping and to forget the gift. The end result is the same.
Our counter balance to this tendency is the Ever-Virgin Mary. For in Mary we find the gift of God. In her womb is the Messiah. And when we look upon Mary, we are not led to love the gift wrap rather then the gift. For when we look upon the icon of Mary, or celebrate one of her feasts, or read of her in the scriptures, we are not distracted away from the Messiah, but led to Him. Mary is a gift wrap which not only allows us to see the gift, but even helps reveal God’s gift to us. Mary is at the center of the Christmas icon because she reveals to us what is important for us about Christmas. She shows us why we need Christmas – because we need Jesus Christ to reveal God to us and give us a pure relationship with our God. Mary’s single-hearted devotion to God is not distracted by any other desire, nor deceived by any external trappings or wrappings.

Let it not be so, but rather with Mary may each of us say this Christmas, “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done according to His Will.”

Luke 1:38
Then Mary said, “Behold I am the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”theotokos
Mary was blessed by her purity of heart which allowed her to serve God. May we all do the same.

Develop in yourselves this purity of heart, this single-heartedness that enables us to see God. This Christmas do not be seduced by the external trappings which can hide the gift. Let us not be like Eve, but rather let us be inspired by the Ever-Virgin Mary. As St. Paul warns in 2 Corinthians 11:3:

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent in his cunning seduced Eve, so your minds may be corrupted and you may lose the single-hearted devotion to Christ. “

Next: The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas:  F   Forgiveness

One thought on “The ABC’s of Why We Need Christmas: E

  1. Pingback: Fr.Ted Bobosh on “Why we need Christmas” | Arms Open Wide

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