I can remember scoffing at the infancy narratives of Jesus back when I was a non-believing teenager, and saying to anyone who would indulge me by listening, “These are totally made up. Clearly. How does anyone even know that an angel came to her (Mary) and said anything? There wasn't anyone there to see it.”

It wasn't until I was in my thirties, I'm embarrassed to say, that I listened to the Gospel of Luke's “Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” that I heard the implied next part “and then she told them all to us.”

For all that my mother had tried to raise me to be an independent woman, it hadn't occurred to me that the teller of the tales was the woman who had been there. In all the titles that are given to the Blessed Mother, the ones which seem to be forgotten are Story Teller, Keeper of History, and Chief Witness.

As the mother of my own brood of children, I often feel that the most important role I play in their lives is as the observer, the witness, of their lives. “Tell me a story from when I was a baby,” “Sing me that song that I used to like,” “Tell me about the time I.....” are near daily parts of my life. I recount for them the tales from before they were old enough to remember, the stories of my sweet babies before they were big enough to remember their own histories for themselves.

It must have been the same for Mary except on a larger scale, with not only her son but his followers asking “Tell us again about how John leaped inside Elizabeth at the sound of your voice.” “What does an angel look like, and how did you find the voice to actually speak to one?” “Tell us the story of the Magi?” And she would begin, “When I was a young girl/new mom/running for my life....” and the listeners would sigh and settle in for the tales of Our Lord in his infancy.

This year, I’ll be meditating on the most famous forgotten story-teller of them all — Mary, the Mother of Christ and Teller of His Tales. She did so much more than just ponder these things in her heart, she kept the stories safe for me and for you.