Mead-the mother of meaning

Each year around Christmas it has become my habit to read something from Walter Russell Mead’s Yule Blog. Mead usually writes about politics, especially geopolitics. But he is a Christian. And each year he reflects about the meaning of Christmas.

He has an essay about Mary this year. His essay is “The Mother of All Meaning”.

He notes that Protestants often shy away from lifting up Mary. That is a Catholic or Orthodox distinctive practice. He says he does not expect Southern Baptists to start making pilgrimages to Lourdes or substituting the rosary for Wednesday night Bible study. But he does think Protestants should reflect more on the classical Christian title for Mary: Theotokos. In English this becomes Mother of God. This title stands on what orthodox or confessing Christians believe about the person of Jesus. He is divine and Mary is his mother.

So Mead says of Mary:

She was unflinching and courageous. She followed God, not social convention. She was ready to be snickered at and pitied by the gossips of Nazareth and to risk her relationship with Joseph to respond to God’s call. She followed Jesus to the cross and watched her son die; her loving presence would have been one of the few comforts he had during that final ordeal. She was ready to respond to the unexpected, to have her life wrenched out of a comfortable and traditional groove when God showed her that he had something else in mind.

This is the kind of woman to whom God came looking for a mother for Jesus. No other human being in the history of monotheism (other than Jesus) was called to this kind of intimacy with God. And if Christians take their own theology seriously, our Lord and Savior was shaped by her genes and her character. Mothering is serious business, something {I} think about often as Christmas follows Christmas without my own dear mother at the holiday feast. Jesus would not have been who he was if he had had another mother or no mother at all. She put a lot of herself in her son, leaving an imprint on his character that is visible from a distance of 2000 years. And she didn’t just mark him. She marked, marks us. Our civilization for better or worse has been shaped through its complicated, many-sided encounter with the man she raised and the faith that grew up around him. We are all sons and daughters of Mary today, whether we acknowledge it or not.


About theoutwardquest

I have many interests, but will blog mostly about what I read in the fields of Bible and religion.
This entry was posted in Seasonal, Spirituality, Theology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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