Christmas is as much about Mary, the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, as it is about Jesus, the Son of the Eternal Father. Since just as Our Lord said "Yes" to His Heavenly Father during His Agony in the Garden, so did Our Lady say "Yes" when she was asked by the Angel Gabriel to be the Mother of God. Therefore our gratitude for the saving work that God has begun in us and our prayers should be directed as much towards Our Lady as towards Our Lord, for without her "Yes", He would never have been born. In as much as our redemption depended upon Him, so did it depend upon she who said...
My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation until generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath showed might with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
For without her, there would be no Baptism, no Confession, no Eucharist, no Priesthood, no Holy Orders, the Gates of Heaven, firmly closed. Without her, there would be no hope! If we should make it to Heaven, it is not just Him that we shall thank and in whom we shall rejoice, but her! God loved the World so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the World. Yes, indeed, but Mary loved the World so much, that she accepted the delivery! In as much as Jesus is the King of Eternal Glory, Mary is the Queen of Heaven. God has honoured her and so should we! I found this beautiful homage to the Blessed Virgin on Porta Caeli from the Office of Readings. It is by St Bernard of Clairvaux:
'You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit.
The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him.
We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.
The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die.
In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.
Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it.
All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet.
It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.
Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God.
Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.
Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident.
This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous.
Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary.
Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter.
If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves.
Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): In Praise of the Virgin Mother (Hom. 4, 8-9) from the Office of Readings for December 20