When you have a special gift for someone you love dearly, you take great care in preparing the gift so that it has the greatest effect - so that it is the greatest sign of love for your beloved. You select the most tasteful wrapping; you gather together the sticky tape, the scissors and ribbons you need; you lay them out carefully, cut the paper, cut he sticky tape and the ribbons to the right size; you carefully wrap the gift, sticking the tape neatly across the perfectly folded paper and then tie the ribbons so that your great care is evident for your beloved to see.
Everything is executed to give the greatest of joy to your beloved. You decide exactly when you are going to present your gift; you think of the best time and place, and the words you are going to say; all you do is to make the gift precious in the eyes of the person you love.
In this time of Advent, we naturally think of preparing gifts for the people we love; and this is good. But we must not forget the gift that God gave to us. This gift is the greatest gift possible: His Only Son Our Lord Jesus Christ.
God took the greatest care to prepare this gift for us so that It might be precious in our eyes. He gave the Gift of His Son in the most perfect wrapping: the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lord could have appeared on earth in a flash of lighting, thunder and white smoke as a grown man to make a big impression, but he chose instead to be conceived in the womb of the most perfect creature: the Blessed Virgin Mary. He did this because He wanted to us to know that He shared a human nature like ours - being born of a woman; He wanted us to follow the example of submission to His mother and foster father; and He wanted to have a Mother whom He could give to us as our Mother too.
Now, for the Blessed Virgin Mary to be a perfect creature, it was necessary that the hand (or even the shadow) of Satan should never touch her. She could never have any stain upon her body or soul. For this reason she was preserved from original sin when she was conceived in the womb of St. Anne. This belief, this fact, is an article of our faith and is called the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
The Immaculate Conception of Mary was the perfect way of preparing the perfect gift of God to us. Today we honour Mary as the Immaculate Conception and offer our thanks to God for both for the gift of Himself and the gift of His Mother.
We best offer our thanks by offering the greatest gift that we possess in return which is the gift of ourselves as similitudes of Our Lord. We are in the image of God by our human nature (having an intellect and will), but we become a similtude to God by our elevation to the supernatural order by grace. And the best wrapping for this gift is of course the Blessed Virgin Mary! God the Father gave His Son through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and He desires that we give ourselves back to Him through her. Let us then turn to her- our Life, our Sweetness and our Hope - and beg her to accept us as her sons and daughters that we may offer ourselves with greatest effect to her Son.