Get Even More Visitors To Your Blog, Upgrade To A Business Listing >>

Christmas - Who is the Virgin Mary ?

The ubiquitous Christmas Tree sans decorations
Christmas... for some people it's the time of the year when pine trees, red suited men with white beards and brightly packaged boxes of presents become the focus of everyday existence, for others it's a religious event commemorating the birth of Jesus and the origin of the Christian faith, albeit with elements of pagan festivals thrown in for good measure. Yet associated with this period is the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, whose stature and importance has grown to such a level worldwide, that she has been elevated to being intercessor with Jesus and the bestower of miracles.

Little is actually known about Mary herself.  There is scant detail in the Bible (she only speaks 4 times and most other references are only mentions in the Gospels of Luke, Matthew, Mark and John) and whatever other information can be gleaned is drawn from first-century Mediterranean texts or Hebrew scriptures with the main sources being writings which occurred up to 65 years after Jesus' birth. Mary fares better in the Koran where an entire chapter (or sura) is devoted to her under the name of Maryam but again the sources are from a much later period of time. What is known is that she lived in Nazareth during the period in which it was part of the Roman province of Judea and she was the mother of Jesus.

It was at the Third Ecumenical Council at Esphesus, A.D. 431 that Mary was officially pronounced as Theotokos, Bearer of God and over the course of the next several centuries, a range of different cultural values have been projected onto her. She has been portrayed as an imperial figure dressed in royal purple and gold, as a kinder, gentler motherly figure, as a goddess figure or simply as a grieving woman. Her importance is strongest for the Catholics but not so for the Protestants who removed her as an intercessor during the Reformation which occurred from 1517 to 1648 (Protestants pray direct to God with no middleman).

There are more visions of the Virgin Mary worldwide than sightings of Elvis. From Bosnia, to Africa and South America, the Virgin Mary appears as visions to inspire and bring hope. The small town of Lourdes in France receives over 80,000 sick or disabled people to visit the Shrine of Mary each year. Devotion to her is easier to conceptualise in form and substance (there are solid images to see) than the amorphous entity that is God.

This Christmas when looking at the multitude of images and in particular, nativity scenes, spare a thought for the  Mother in the image. Would this woman from Nazareth be so comfortable with the images of her which now criss-cross the world?

This post first appeared on Sentinel Owl, please read the originial post: here

Share the post

Christmas - Who is the Virgin Mary ?


Subscribe to Sentinel Owl

Get updates delivered right to your inbox!

Thank you for your subscription