How come today is not a Holy Day of Obligation but the Immaculate Conception of BVM is (just curious)?
Well, in terms of the cosmic importance of events, Mary’s Immaculate Conception was much more significant than her actual birth. We’re all born, after all, and her birth wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.
The fact that we celebrate her birth at all is unusual - only John the Baptist is accorded a similar honour among the saints. Saint’s feasts are usually the anniversary of their death where this is known.
Sorry I had to restart my computer. Thought this might help, we will have it.
The icon shows St. Anne reclining on a couch attended by women. In the foreground is the Midwife preparing to wash the child Mary. Joachim is often shown in the icon but not in all icons of the Nativity. By the sixteenth century some icons also show a scene in which Joachim and Anne are caressing their infant. According to the apocryphal book the Protevangelium of St. James, the name “Mary” or “Miriam” was given by the Angel when he announced to Joachim and Anne they would have the child they had prayed for. Only one other Old Testament person bore the name Mary or Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. Mary means “hope”. Miriam was the “hope” of the liberation of the Israelites because she saved Moses who would become liberator and savior of her people Israel as found in the book of Exodus 2:4-8. Like the Nativity of John the Baptist and the birth of Isaac from the sterile Sarah, the Nativity of the Mother of God was considered to be a prefiguring of the Resurrection. “But the Nativity of the Mother of God is more than a figure, for in the person of St. Anna-a woman freed from her sterility to bring into the world a Virgin who would give birth to God incarnate-it is our nature which ceases to be sterile in order to start bearing the fruits of grace.” (The Meaning of Icons by Vladimir Lossky and Leonid Ouspensky, p. 146.) The largest figure in the icon is St. Anne and in some icons, St. Joachim who are the focus of the icon. If Adam and Eve are the parents of fallen humanity then Joachim and Ann are grandparents of God’s “re-creation”.
In his book, Theotokos, Archbishop Raya tell us that the Western Church sets aside Sept. 12 to honor the name of Mary. He also says that the early writers and Fathers of the Church translated “Miriam” to mean " the enlightened one", “the light giver” but St. Bernard of Clairvaux gives the name to mean “Star of the Sea.” He says we should call upon Mary when we are “battered to and fro by the gales and storms of this life’s ocean” and if “waves of pride or ambition or slander or envy toss you…if billows of anger or avarice … or the enormity of your sins troubles you… if the dread of judgment appalls you, if you begin to slip into the deep of despondency, in the pit of despair, think of Mary”. (p. 86) One of the verses of the Acathist to Mary is “Hail O Star who manifest the Sun.” (Byzantine Daily Worship p.969)
The feast of the Nativity of Mary is connected to the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne on Sept. 9 and the feast of the Maternity of Anne on Dec. 9. The icon of Joachim and Anne embracing at the city gates is based on the story told in the Protevangelium of James and The Gospel of the Birth of Mary, apocryphal books used by the Eastern Church.