Mary, mother of God is one of the titles given to Mary. Saint Mary, Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, and Mother of the Church are a few others. The title, Mother of God, is one that was decided on early in Church history at the Council of Ephesus in 431.Mother of God is one of the translations of the Greek THEOTOKOS. It also can be translated as “one who gives birth to God” and “birth giver of God.” The theology of this title states that Mary is THEOTOKOS because her son,Jesus, is both God and man. It goes on with Jesus as one divine person with two natures, divine and human, intimately and hypostatically united. In describing Mary as mother of God, that Greek title emphasizes Jesus’s being as fully human and fully divine. At the time of the Council of Ephesus there was a debate between two titles: THEOTOKOS and CHRISTOTOKOS. CHRISTOTOKOS roughly translates “one who gives birth to Christ,” and Christ is a translation of Messiah. Messiah has historically emphasized a human nature. That council wanted to strongly emphasize the true nature of Jesus the Christ. Mother of God though brings along another confusion as Jesus is eternal. God the Son (Jesus) is begotten from God the Father from all eternity. Jesus is “born in time” of Mary. Through Mary Jesus is born in the flesh.
Born in time and born in the flesh is something we can relate to as they are dimensions that we are familiar with. This solemnity occurs on an important time on our calendar, January first or the start of a new year. It is a time as specific as that day Mary gave birth to Jesus, a date that is marked historically. New years marks the amount of time this earth takes to make one simple revolution around the sun. It is a grand celebration for a rather simple event. THEOTOKOS though celebrates Mary who “gives birth to God”, in time, and in the flesh. The mystery of this day focus on Mary’s giving birth to a God of eternity. If fireworks go off because our planet circled the sun, what fireworks should go off when we think of Mary as “the bearer of God?” What was it about Saint Mary that she should bear this eternal Child and give birth to him in the flesh? That event is so profound fireworks are a mere annoyance in meditating on it. Meditating on that event is better with quiet and stillness as it is complexity is greater that a date in time.One simple approach to this day is to view it as the motherhood of Mary, to look at a divine event in human terms. To look at her son in her womb through her eyes, and to hear her prayers as she carried that Child. That is to look at her relation to both God and man. It is to think of Mary bearing God in her heart at all the events of her life and her Son’s: from the Annunciation, to the Nativity, to his Passion, death , and resurrection. Through all of those events she bore her son in her heart. One of the bible phrases linked to the Theotokos is “and she kept it close in her heart.” That’s something to quietly think about after the fireworks are over..