The powerful grace of voluntary suffering is integral to the essence of Christ-mas joy. From the moment that Mary first heard the angel’s greeting, she knew that she would be facing serious pain (with joy). Pregnancy at this moment in her life would not only be scandalous but even life-threatening, due to the penalty for a condition which would be seen as an indication that she had been unfaithful to her betrothed husband, Joseph. Yet Mary humbly, willingly, even gratefully (that is, gracefully) accepted this lifelong path of suffering.
Her situation was quite unique, because the Child she was graced to carry had chosen this path of suffering, from the foundation of the world. Jesus chose to clothe Himself in tender flesh and blood (even the tenuous condition of a microscopic conceptus), so that He could sacrifice Himself to favor Mary (and all others who would so humbly accept Him) with grace. He chose this path of suffering not through a morbid desire to maximize His personal pain, but “for the joy set before Him,” for the eternal benefit of His offspring like Mary.