Guadalupe

Maryology has been pretty Mary-free lately (other than me, of course) but there can be no better occasion to Mary-up than today. December 12 is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe – and on Sunday we remember Mary-the-about-to-be-mother-of-Jesus’ reaction to being told she was pregnant.

What I love about these two visions of Mary is how bold she is. Most of the time, Mary is a quiet statue or painting humbly gazing at the ground. But how did she react at probably the most overwhelming moment of her life? She burst into song! How did she reveal herself to Juan Diego? With out-of-season flowers that made an ornate portrait of her on his cloak.

Virgin of Guadalupe

I’m telling you, this woman is no wallflower. She is flamboyantly faithful and ostentatiously gracious. Which saint appears on more tattoos than Mary? None.

Today, I induct the Virgin of Guadalupe into the Hall of Marys. She’ll be there with Mary of Nazareth, which might be confusing for mere mortals, but I think they will figure it out. Our Lady of Guadalupe has her own amazing place in the life and culture of Mexico and the American Southwest – she is a cultural and religious unifier and, to some, a feminist symbol of power. She is simultaneously plain and radiant, simple and complex, gentle and strong.

She’s not gazing at the ground, she is standing on the moon looking at you.¬†Ave.

The wreath that took a week

Some years, Christmas preparations are more of a struggle than other years. Maybe you put off shopping and miss the shipping deadlines. Or you wait too long to get a tree and all that’s left are the Charlie Brown specials. Of course, there is always at least one year when everyone gets a bad flu. That can make things a little rough.

For us, the trouble started right off the bat with the Advent wreath. We had the greenery, ribbons, and sparkly ornaments. My daughter was excited to put it all together. The project was started and then…the first holiday tantrum.

Wreath making halted; wreath maker was sent to Siberia.

Two days later we tried again. The stupid ribbons would not tie right and the stupid ornaments wouldn’t do what she wanted…AHHHHHHH! The candles are crooked. What is wrong with them?! Back to Siberia. It seems that Advent is, indeed, a penitential season.

Today, the 7th day of Advent, the wreath was finally finished, and not a shouted or sarcastic word was uttered. There is even a pile of extra materials to make a fairy house. An Advent miracle.

The wreath that took a week.