‘Tis the Season to be Blue — Blessed Mother Blue

Leonardo DaVinci: Madonna & Child


Blessed Mother Blue.

Blessed Virgin Mary Blue.

There is no sexier color in the Crayola Crayon box than Blessed Mother Blue. That is, of course, if you are a little Catholic girl. And it’s Advent. Please, Baby Jesus, bless me with Blessed Mother Blue!

Now Mary (quite impossibly!) is very, very much what every little Catholic girl wants to be when she grows up. Well maybe not when she grows up, but what every little Catholic girl wants to be in the Christmas pageant. Damn! Mary is what every Protestant little girl wants to be in the Christmas pageant!

Drape me, Baby Jesus, in Blessed Mother Blue.

Alas, it did not come to pass until Advent 1983. Pregnant with my second child and obviously not a virgin, at long last I had snagged the part of the BVM. Not quite as embarrassing as liturgical dance, I starred in a three part liturgical drama: PREGNANT WITH GOD.

Three parts, three trimesters.

Advent One. Surprised. Uncertain. Shaky. Nauseous. Scared.

Advent Two. Blooming. Stretching. Aching. Hoping.

Advent Three. Heavy. Swollen. Sleepless. Bursting with life.

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”

I burst into The Magnificat.It was the 80’s. And I wore Blessed Mother Blue.

Now, blue is also the color of a mood. Possibly a million times in a millennia or two, possibly a million artists have depicted the Madonna and Child. Beatific Mary with the fat, little, haloed, baby Jesus in her lap. And in every painting, in every icon, in every stained glass window, as beautiful as she may be, she is the Mater Dolorosa, our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows.

The cradle foreshadows the cross.

“Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child.”

Advent is the Blue season, a season of darkness and light.

At first light yesterday it was dark, 6:30 a.m. dark. The sun went down at 4:47 p.m. I got up in the dark. I drove home in the dark.   And in between, the sky was gray all day outside my window.

The days are getting shorter. Yes, shorter. Is it any wonder, as the holiday looms, why you might be feeling so BLUE, so deep, dark, inky, indigo BLUE.

My bipolar mother, Mary Lou, was often Blessed Mother Blue. So blue she could barely get out of bed. So blue she could barely lift her head. So SAD, so deeply sad, it was like the light had literally gone out of her eyes. No sign of light and life in November, meant an equally dark December. O mom, we’ll have a blue Christmas without you.

And being my mother’s daughter, though it has been a very long time, I too remember what it feels like to dwell too long in this darkness. And I imagine many who are reading these words have too.

Since God created the night, God’s people have prayed for the return of the light. That’s why long before there ever was a Christmas there was the Winter Solstice. The Stone Age people who built Stonehenge knew all about it. The Neolithic people who built Newgrange knew all about it. The deepest, darkest day of the year, is the day the light returns. It’s coming. December 21st.

For this Blue Season in anticipation, on December 5th, Emmanuel is having a Comfort Service, a contemplative kind of Christmas. New Zealand Night Prayer interlaced with Taize chant.

And the service is offered in the spirit of a song: Come Darkness, Come Light. It’s a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, an artist who in her own life knows exactly what it’s like to tune into and sing the blues.

Come darkness, come light
Come new star, shining bright
Come love to this world tonight

Come broken, come whole
Come wounded in your soul
Come anyway that you know

Come doubting, come sure
Come fearful to this door
Come see what love is for

Come running, come walking slow
Come weary on your broken road
Come see Him and shed your heavy load

There’s a humble stable and a light within
There’s an angel hovering and three wise men
Today a baby’s born in Bethlehem

Come darkness come light
Come new star burning bright
Come love to this world tonight

Come to the Comfort Service. Come for healing. Come for solace. Come for warmth. Come for music. Come for peace. Come for prayer.

“Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28

Come for the Light.

Sunday, December 5, 5:00 pm.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
1608 Russell Road
Alexandria, VA.


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The Rev. Joani Peacock, Editor for Emmanuel Voices: A Parish Blog

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