In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
The Virgin who gave birth to Jesus had a name and face. Although she is iconic, she was not an icon. Although she sums up all motherhood in herself, she was not just a nameless Jungian archetype. Although, at the broadest level, all paganism, with its Earth Mother and Sky Father, can be said to have anticipated her, she was no faceless, nameless Earth Mother. She was a young Jewish girl, born of the last people on earth to think of pagan Earth Mothers and Sky Fathers. And she believed, not in some vague pantheism, but in the God of Israel. Above all, she had a name: Mary. And she lived, as her Son would live, in the ordinary life of occupied Judea under the reign of a Roman emperor and a bureaucracy which has left paperwork and statuary to clutter up the modern world. She was, in a word, real and human, not a myth. From her, the Word took on flesh and refused to stay up in heaven. In some sense, his face was shaped by hers.
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