The birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been celebrated since at least the sixth century. This is not a historical feast, of course, and the date was chosen to correspond to the beginning of the Church year in the Eastern Church. The date of her birth also helped to determine the date of the Immaculate Conception – on December 8, nine months prior to today.
It is said that Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, were infertile, and they prayed for a child. They received the promise of a daughter who would be central to the salvation of the world. That promise was, of course, fulfilled gloriously. Mary’s birth begins the unfolding of God’s ultimate plan for the salvation of the world. With her fiat, her “yes” to God’s call, she made possible the birth of many souls into eternal life.
The Byzantine Church Daily Worship proclaims well the joy that we have on this feast of Mary’s birth: “Today the barren Anna claps her hands for joy, the earth radiates with light, kings sing their happiness, priests enjoy every blessing, the entire universe rejoices, for she who is queen and the Father’s immaculate bride buds forth from the stem of Jesse.”