On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.
Annunciation of the Lord
(also called “Feast of the Annunciation” or “Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”)
What’s this holy day all about?
Annunciation (definition: announcing) of the Lord marks the day when the angel Gabriel came to visit Mary, declaring to her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Son of God. The Annunciation is typically observed on March 25th (exactly 9 months before Christmas), but is never celebrated during Holy Week, so this year it is observed on April 4th. It is recorded in Luke 1:26-38. The Annunciation occurs during the season of Eastertide.
What’s the history of this observance?
“The Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary dates back to at least the 6th century, and is mentioned between AD 530 and 533 in a sermon by Abraham of Ephesus. In the West, the first authentic reference is in the Gelasian Sacramentary in the 7th century. The tenth Synod of Toledo (AD 656), and Trullan Synod (AD 692) speak of the Annunciation feast as universally celebrated in the Catholic Church. In the Acts of the latter council, the feast is exempted from the Lenten fast.” (citation)
What’s it to me?
The Annunciation represents a great deal to the Christian, both in the facts of what actually happened on that miraculous day, and how the story informs our lives even still. Through Gabriel, God declared that, in fulfillment of prophecy, His Son would enter the world, establishing “a kingdom that will never end.” We are reminded of the radical, saving, loving, unstoppable plan of God to redeem humanity back to Himself. Mary’s humility and submission in her response speaks volumes about her deep faith, her strength and her certainty of God’s goodness. She asks how she will become pregnant, and what she is told sounds impossible, yet she believes, though her subsequent pregnancy will likely cause scorn and marginalization by her fiance, Joseph, family and community. She trusts that that which the messenger of God has declared not only will come to pass, but is the best thing that could happen, and she willingly accepts his mission, beckoning us to do the same.
So, boil it down for me, would you?
The Annunciation of the Lord commemorates the day when the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her she would become pregnant, give birth, have a Son and name Him Jesus, whose kingdom would have no end.
So, how could we observe it?
Read the Lectionary texts and pray the Collect for the Annunciation.
Pray the Collect for the Annunciation: Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The unborn Jesus is not often discussed in Evangelicalism. This article presents some interesting reasons why, and observes how the unborn Jesus influences (or should influence) the pro-life position. Celebrate life by supporting a local pregnancy outreach center financially or by asking how you can volunteer.
Consider what it is to be filled with the Spirit as Mary was filled with Jesus. Ponder the Fruit of the Spirit, asking God to make them manifest in your life by the Spirit who lives in you.
Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of the Easter season through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Easter/Eastertide.
Add touches of white to your home through decor, flowers or candles.
For kids: In Sweden, this holiday is celebrated with WAFFLES! How fun is that? Make waffles (for any meal) and talk to your kids about how Mary said yes to God even in fear, even before she had all the answers. Celebrate her bravery! Find all kinds of coloring sheets and activities here.
I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on the Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?
What are your ideas for observing The Annunciation?
Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?
Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?
From Him | Through Him | To Him,