As I sit here halfway cooked with this latest addition to our little family, feeling the effects of pregnancy with every fiber of my being, I'm also thinking about Mary.
I'm thinking about how her life changed radically with a message from an angel, a shocking invitation into something so far beyond her own plans that all she could manage was calm and reasonable "Yes, but how can this be?" - going straight for the logical inquiry over the more obvious "why is there a terrifying angel appearing in my room," or the more nuanced "God wants to have a baby with me?!" route.
One thing that didn't seem to have occurred to her?
To question whether or not there was, in fact, a baby involved.
God's proposal to humanity, sealed in the flesh through Mary's fiat, was - and is - a Person.
Not a potential person. Not an eventual person.
A real person. From the moment of His conception, miraculous (note: NOT immaculate. Wrong feast day) thought it was, He was both fully divine and fully human, and Mary became fully a mother that day when she gave her consent and conceived by the Holy Spirit.
Which is why the argument against the personhood of the unborn has always struck me as so profoundly stupid in light of the Incarnation.
He was there, from the beginning. His little cousin John the Baptist knew as much, and he leapt in recognition at 12-week-old embryonic Jesus from his own uterine perspective.
Any woman who has ever been pregnant can attest to the incredible other-ness of being with child. From the very earliest days following conception, that baby is there, growing and changing and developing as humans continue to do over their entire lifespan, but undeniably and irreversibly there. You can kill the baby at any point, of course, but you can't undo what has already been done: the creation of an entirely new human person.
And that's what makes today so special. That's why if you count forward in time 9 months from today in the Church calendar you land on the embodiment of the Incarnation: Christmas. He arrives today in a real sense, tucked safely in the womb of His Mother and ours, and while He remains hidden for another 9 months of growth and development, history is forever altered because He now exists in human flesh.
So happy feast day, Mama Mary, from one gestating mother to another. Thanks for changing the course of salvation history and loosing the bonds of Eve's disobedience by your generous and unreserved "yes."
We owe you - quite simply - everything.