I want to wish you a Mary Christmas. No, that is not a typo. I hope you have a very Mary Christmas.
I just realized that the only time I use the word “Merry” is in connection with a Christmas greeting. Sometimes other times of the year I wish someone a “Merry Ground Hog Day” or a “Merry Halloween,” just to see if they are paying attention.
It seems the whole history of how the Merry Christmas greeting began is lost in the mists of history except all can agree the per-son who really deserves the most credit for promoting it to the number one Christmas slutatioin is Clement Moore. In the final line of his famous poem, T’was the Night Before Christmas, Saint Nick exclaims, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.” Or was it “Happy Christmas to all?” It depends on the version you read.
I have tried to be conscious of when I glibly extend this age-old greeting and in my mind substitute Mary Christmas. “Merry” is just another word for happy, but “Mary” is the name of the mother of Jesus.
We will be talking more about Mary’s roll in Christmas this week in worship. But it seems to me that the meaning of Christmas is not just that we might be merry, but that we realize that we are each and all Mary. Mary was the first disciple of Jesus. Her trust in her unborn child is inspiring to all who come after in faith. And like Mary the hope of Christmas is that the gift of Jesus to the world is that the same Spirit that was in him is in us who follow him. So when I wish someone a Mary Christmas, it is my hope that they will know the hope, peace, joy and love of the birth of Christ from the inside out.
That is all to say, however you celebrate the holiday I hope you will have yourself a Mary little Christmas.