This is the earliest known image of Mary. It is from the 2nd century. Holy Cow, can you imagine, the 2nd century...that would be year 100. And this image survives.
Image of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, in the Catacomb of Priscilla in Rome.
It depicts her nursing the Infant Jesus.
This is earliest known image of Mary and the Infant Jesus independent of the Magi episode.
The figure at the left appears to be the prophet Balaam pointing to a star (outside the frame).
"The emphasis on the maternal love of Mary for the Child Jesus
reflects the early Christian community's reverence for the Mother of God,
and for its understanding of God's love for humankind
in sending His only Son to earth to share in our humanity."
So yes, Mary has been with us forever!
In celebration of these last twelve days, I (mentally) sing this Song, written by Richard Le Gallienne, 1886, and dedicate it to Mary:
She's somewhere in the sunlight strong,
Her tears are in the falling rain,
She calls me in the wind's soft song,
And with the flowers she comes again.
Yon bird is but her messenger,
The moon is but her silver car;
Yea! sun and moon are sent by her,
And every wistful waiting star
Namaste, and THANK YOU REBECCA