…with Mary, His Mother

When the Magi of the east came to the house where the Christ-child was, they saw the child with Mary, His mother, Surely Mary is there because she is the child’s mother. She is His life-giver. She clothes and feeds Him and watches over Him, just as your mother did for you and just as you do for your little ones. Mary is there because it’s her house, her home, and she has the child that the Magi of the East seek. But all that could be inferred. She didn’t have to be mentioned. Just like it could be inferred that Joseph was not there because he was working (he hadn’t died yet since they had not yet taken their flight into Egypt). Or maybe he was there just not mentioned. He doesn’t have to be mentioned to know that at some level he was involved. After all, he was the reason the child and His mother were in Bethlehem in the first place. But Mary is mentioned. The Holy Spirit wants her in the story. He doesn’t name the child, but He names Mary, His mother. There is more here than simply mentioning Mary because she is the child’s mother. (Matthew 2:11). Why does the Holy Spirit tell us that Mary was there? It could be because Jesus was a child, no more than two years of age. It could be to tell those first century readers to ask Mary about this, that she will collaborate Matthew’s witness. But why not just say that they saw Jesus who was with Mary, His mother, putting the emphasis on Jesus? The way it’s worded shares the emphases: “When they entered the house they saw the child with Mary, His mother.” His name is not even mentioned. Her’s is.

Mary is mentioned because she teaches us. She teaches us that when you find Jesus you find those who believe on Him. Mary embodies the faithful. She is the first to believe that her Son, the child of her womb, would save His people from their sins. She is the first to treasure up in her heart all that is said of her child, her firstborn. She is the model of faith, proclaiming that whatever the Lord wills is good for her even when it is unbelievable and will cause her trouble and hardships. She worships her child while He is still in her womb, praising Him for choosing her and for raising her up from humility to honor, from being lowly to being exalted. Praising Him that because of Him all nations call her blessed even as through her all nations are blessed, just as it was for her father, Abraham.

When you find the Christ, you find those who worship Him already. That is why Mary is mentioned. She teaches the Magi of the East how to worship the child of prophesy. She told them of the miraculous conception. She told them of the angel Gabriel. She told them about the shepherds and the angels and that her child was born in a stable meant for animals; that He was laid in a manger, a feeding trough for beasts. She told the Magi who this child is: Emmanuel, God with us. That He is meant for the rising and falling of many in Israel; that He is the light to the Gentiles, a revelation to the nations; that He is the Savior of the nations, the Son that is given. Mary treasured all these things in her heart, storing them up so that she could tell the Magi who this child really is and why He has come and what He will do and so teach them how to worship Him, the one born King of the Jews.

Mary is all those who have come before you and who have taught you how to worship Christ the Lord. How have they taught you? By telling you of His birth; by recounting all that is said of Him in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms; by bringing you to Bethlehem, the House of Bread, to His house, so that you would give the treasures of your body and your will, giving them as tribute to the King of kings. You have been taught how to worship Him by those who were here before you, who treasured up in their hearts everything that has been said of the Son of Mary, pondering the mystery of God in flesh, Emmanuel.

And you fall down before Him and worship Him. You worship Him when you rejoice in what you are told, as the shepherds rejoiced and as the Magi of the East rejoiced. You worship Him when you confess the creed, proclaiming the truth of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. You worship Him when you honor Him with your lips and when you ponder Him in your heart. You worship Him when you say “Amen” to His body and blood, eating the Bread of Heaven in the House of Bread and drinking the cup of the Lord in the courts of His house. You worship Him when you come into His house and find Him wrapped in the swaddling clothes called the Bible, and laid in the manger called the altar.

You come and open your treasure and present to Him gifts. Not gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and not your time, talents, and treasures. Those are not your gifts to the King. Those are your gifts to your neighbor. No, the gift you give to your King is your body and will, your heart and soul. With the faithful you present yourself to Him as a tribute, that He is the King and you are the servant. And then He gives you His heart and soul, His body and His will. And you go out from His house different than when you came in. You came in by way of Herod; by way of death and threats and betrayal, the way of this world. But you do not go the way you came in. You go out the way of life, a different way than you came in by. You go out proclaiming what you have seen and heard, and you teach others how to worship the King in the House of Bread with Mary, His mother, and all the saints of God.

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