As we approach Christmas Eve, let us consider that in the first Revelation, Julian of Norwich had a “ghostly” or “spiritual” vision of the Virgin Mary at the moment she conceived the Savior. Julian glimpsed “the wisdom and truth” of Mary’s soul as the young girl marveled that God “would be born of her who was a simple creature of his making.” Julian realized that Mary was, like herself, uneducated, and without any earthly status. She observed Mary’s “reverent beholding” of her Creator. “For this was her marveling: that he that was her maker would be borne of her that was made.” Julian understood that it was Mary’s recognition of her very “littleness” that made her tell the angel Gabriel, “Lo, me here God’s handmaiden.” But because the Creator chose her, Mary was more worthy than all the other creatures below her. And above her there was “nothing that is made but the blessed manhood of Christ, as to my sight.”
This tells us a lot about how Mary marveled as she beheld her Son in her arms after his birth. Again she marveled that God “would be born of her who was a simple creature of his making.” Again she reverently beheld her Creator and marveled that “he that was her maker would be borne of her that was made.”
Nakedly, Plainly and Homely
Julian was certain that the Lord is greatly pleased whenever a soul comes to him like Mary: “nakedly, plainly, and homely”; that is, simply, humbly, and intimately [like home], full of eagerness to offer him everything. This Christmas, let us consider that God longs to be born of us, into every aspect of our daily reality with all its complexities, joys, and sorrows. Let us approach the newborn Christ Child in Mary’s arms “nakedly, plainly, and homely” -- like the poor shepherds, without anything to offer but our love. Then perhaps we, too, may realize that he who is our maker is being born of us who are made.
Then, contemplating Mary and the Child, we may whisper Julian’s own heartfelt prayer of wonder, adoration, and joyful surrender:
“God, of thy goodness, give me thyself. For thou art enough to me, and I may ask nothing that is less that may be full worship to thee. And if I ask anything that is less, ever will I be wanting. But only in thee do I have all.”
I wish you all a blessed Christmas, full of the love of Christ in your hearts!
PLEASE NOTE: The excerpts above are from "An Explorer’s Guide to Julian of Norwich" (InterVarsity Academic Press, 2018). Copyright © 2018 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. This article may not be copied or reprinted without the express permission of the author.
All text copyrighted © 2013-2018 by Veronica Mary Rolf. All rights reserved. No copying or reprints allowed without the express permission of the Author.