As we make our way through the Christmas season many of us will miss our parents, especially our mother. It was always mom who worked so hard to make the Christmas season special, whether it was surreptitiously wrapping presents, seeing us to Sunday School, or working that oven to turn out Christmas cakes and pies and cookies and filling the house with divine holiday scents.
We love and miss them because of the role our mothers played in our upbringing, the example they set, the traditions they passed on to us....and for serving as the source of unconditional love.
I wonder how many of you know that variations of the word "mama" and "papa" is nearly universal across more than 200 of the world's languages. For my Vietnamese wife she was "ma", in Mandarin it is "ma-ma" with the emphasis on the first syllable. In Estonian it is "ema", in Persian it is "ma-dar". "Mama" is common across the wide spectrum of languages across the globe, including the Asian and African worlds.
I don't believe that is accidental; I believe the endearing word, "mama" has its origin in the divine. As children we inherently know the strong bond between mother and child. And that same maternal bond is instinctual from the world's mothers.
So, in the spirit of Christmas, perhaps when we realize the maternal bond that exists between mother and child, maybe we can better understand the ultimate joy of a Mother Mary who brought a son into the world some 2000 plus years ago...a son who would speak only of love and forgiveness throughout his short three decade life.
And, in remembering that bond, try to imagine the agony and angst as the world beat and whipped and tortured him and nailed him to a cross....simply for speaking about love. There is a well known painting which shows Mary at the foot of the cross. The only image you see is the horrible agony on Mary's face. If we can do nothing else this Christmas season perhaps we can honor the role that mothers have played in our lives....the ones who cradled and nurtured and protected us....and the one mother who could not do that for her own son.
Mothers are about love, and Christmas should be too.