The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God is a liturgical celebration observed on January 1st. Solemnities are the highest rank of liturgical celebration, higher than feast days or memorials. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics, meaning that Mass attendance is required (though this year it falls on a Sunday.) The feast is a celebration of Mary’s mother-hood of Jesus. The title “Mother of God” is a derivation from the Greek Theotokos, which means “God-bearer”. On this day, we are reminded of the role that the Blessed Virgin played in the plan of our salvation. Through the Holy Spirit, God the Father prepared Mary to be the dwelling place where His Son and His Spirit could dwell among men. Christ’s birth was made possible by Mary’s fiat, or sanctioning of God’s plan with her words, “Be it done to me according to thy word”. Calling Mary “Mother of God” is the highest honor we can give to her. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace”, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace”. New Year’s Day is also designated as the “World Day of Peace, further acknowledging the role of Mary in our hearts and in our world.
Excerpts from EWTN