I noticed a rose in my garden that is blooming this chilly winter’s day. OK, we live in southern California so it’s not that chilly, but colder than usual and I’m pretty sure my blood is thinning after living here for a couple of years because I am wearing a pullover sweater and a cardigan over that. Not to mention socks and house shoes with my jeans. It is a beautiful sunny day, of course.

But first thing this morning I looked out our window and saw a single yellow rose. After fixing my usual cup of tea, I dashed out to take a picture with my phone. Those things are so handy! And now it’s saved for posterity.

The solitary bud that is just beginning to open reminded me of that Advent song, “Lo! How a Rose E’re Blooming.” I never really listened to the lyrics, and I certainly never read them before today. In researching the song, I found out that no one knows who wrote the original words, which is sad to me. (Other verses have been added over the years and those lyricists are known.) The original words are “anonymous” which could mean that the writer did not wish to be known. I can certainly understand that humble motivation, if that’s the case. God bless him, or her! But I do hope that’s the reason because if the person who wrote those words, inspired by a verse in the Old Testament, is not properly credited due to an oversight, that would be a shame.

Old Testament-New Testament

So, the first verse of Isaiah, Chapter 11 is, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Depending on which version you hear, the Rose is Jesus or His mother, Mary. The original song recalls the Jesse tree alluding to the line of King David, which is Jesus’ lineage. That second verse definitely speaks of Mary. I have it on good authority that not only Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, but Mary, may have also been of the line of David. Back then, it was common for a man to marry within his own tribe. So Mary may well have been of the line of David, too! It’s interesting to contemplate. In Luke’s Gospel, he does take a moment to tell us which family Elizabeth, Mary’s kinswoman, comes from, as well as her husband, Zechariah. But for Mary, Luke does not bother. Could it be that’s because she was also from the House of David?

Mary’s Fiat and the Son She Bears

The Rose of the song is the branch that will bear fruit in this Scripture verse. Well, Mary certainly did do that. And what fruit she bore! I love to think of Mary cradling the infant Jesus in her arms and softly singing to her Child as He sleeps. I think we should always recall and revere Mary’s critical role in our Salvation History. No ‘yes’ from Mary and there’s no Savior to be born. Women have a crucial role win the history of the world, generally. But Mama Mary is the quintessential Mother. She gives us a Son who will teach us much, not just out of the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, but through His selfless actions, He teaches us about doing the same. Jesus teaches us much about mercy and forgiveness, about healing and faith, about love and compassion, about humility and the importance of praising the Father.

That Rose is not something to be passed over, to go unnoticed and regarded as “just another flower in the garden.” No, the latter reference is what each of us are – just some flowers in the garden. But Mary is the most special flower worthy of our attention and of our thanks. Thank you for giving us your Son, thanks for your ‘yes‘ and showing us that we can step out in faith like you, dear Mary, and say ‘yes,’ trusting that God has a perfect plan for our lives if we will trust like you did.

Mary and Joseph Teach Their Child Well

Mary is quite the teacher, too, it seems. Joseph, her husband, is another great role model who shows us how to do this life right. He is another selfless, faith filled person who does the will of the Father. What a family, huh? We recently celebrated the Feast of the Holy Family – that’s Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I can see how Jesus, in His humanity, learned much from His human parents. His Heavenly Father, and now ours, chose wisely. No surprise there.

But now it’s up to us to observe, learn, and pray that we have those same qualities that the Holy Family has. There is much love there, which is where everything else good begins, of course. God is love (1 John 4: 8). Let us pray to love like those three. Let us learn from everything they teach us.

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