On rare occasions, Saturday Night Live teaches us important lessons through the use of comedy. Earlier this month Emma Stone played the role of Mary in a Nativity scene. The skit shows Mary getting annoyed with the circumstances of Christ’s birth, concerned about her appearance, and exasperated at the thought of visitors arriving after she has just had a baby.
As someone who has been pregnant more than a couple of times, I can definitely relate to the feelings of the Saturday Night Live/Emma Stone version of Mary. In fact, I have often thought about how uncomfortable the journey to Bethlehem on a donkey while pregnant would have been and, as much as I hate to admit it, I would have surely broken down in tears after the first attempt at finding a room in an Inn failed.
Pregnancy has a way of bringing out the most irrational, irritable, and emotional side of me. (I can’t be alone in this, right?!) But, Mary, the real Mary, was full of grace in all that she did. I’m sure it wasn’t the intention of the writers of this SNL skit, but watching it reminded me of all of the virtues that defined Our Lady. She could have chosen to respond in these ways, but our selfless Mother did not.
Mary, the Mother of God, wasn’t annoyed with the conditions in which the Savior was born or concerned about how she looked or exasperated at the fact that visitors arrived to greet the Newborn King. As the skit portrays, she might have had every right to be, but Mary didn’t make the situation about her needs and comfort. She was focused solely on the Son of God and rejoicing in His birth.
Let us strive to be more like Mary this Christmas. If God asks difficult things of us, may we choose to respond in obedience to His will. When we’re tempted to let our circumstances dictate our attitude, let us remember that this day is about the Birth of Our Lord and not about our own comforts. If we get annoyed with relatives that overstay their welcome, may we find the grace to host them with the same servant’s heart that Mary did as she hosted the shepherds and the Wise Men. May God help us to focus more on preparing our hearts to receive Christ than on the lesser goods of preparing our homes, outfits, or gifts.
When we choose to let Christ be the source of our joy, we will always find both happiness and holiness, just as Mary did.
* As some of our readers have noted, the purpose of this SNL Skit was not intended to glorify or honor Mary. While we are able to still take away valuable lessons from the concept, it is necessary to pray a prayer of reparation for those who have offended Our Lady.
O Most Holy Virgin Mother, we listen with grief to the complaints of your Immaculate Heart surrounded with the thorns placed therein at every moment by the blasphemies and ingratitude of ungrateful humanity. We are moved by the ardent desire of loving you as Our Mother and of promoting a true devotion to your Immaculate Heart.
We, therefore, kneel before you to manifest the sorrow we feel for the grievances that people cause you, and to atone by our prayers and sacrifices for the offenses with which they return your love. Obtain for them and for us the pardon of so many sins. Hasten the conversion of sinners that they may love Jesus and cease to offend the Lord, already so much offended. Turn your eyes of mercy toward us, that we may love God with all our heart on earth and enjoy Him forever in heaven.
St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, Picayune, MS
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