We're halfway through Lent. We're looking forward to Easter. But don't miss Annunciation, coming March 25.
March 25 should be considered a great holy and happy day! Called "Annunciation" for the angel Gabriel's announcement to Mary, it comes nine months to the day before Christmas. If on Christmas we celebrate the birth of our Savior, on Annunciation we celebrate His conception. "Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary" (Apostles' Creed).
Let's go for a moment to Nazareth as it stands today. We enter the Basilica of the Annunciation, built over the Grotto of the Annunciation, held by tradition to be the place where the angel came to Mary. Inside the grotto, or cave, is an altar bearing five Latin words: "Verbum caro hic factum est." They belong to John 1:14. One word, however, is added: hic (in English, "here"). And so it reads: "Here the Word became flesh."
While there is no way to confirm that this was the exact location, the words should be understood more deeply as pointing to the Virgin's womb. Of that location we can be certain!
Sadly, many Christians miss the significance of March 25 as an opportunity to remember, ponder, and celebrate the Incarnation: God's Son putting on our flesh. But you needn't miss it at all!
Take time to read Luke 1:26-38, say the Creed, and sing perhaps this ancient hymn:
Not by human flesh and blood,
By the Spirit of our God,
Was the Word of God made flesh -
Woman's offspring, pure and fresh.
Here a maid was found with child,
Yet remained a virgin mild.
In her womb this truth was shown:
God was there upon His throne.
And celebrate the day with your family and Christian friends! Forget your Lenten fasting for a day and prepare a feast instead! Give thanks with greatest joy for the love of God shown to us in the incarnation of His dear Son!
Pray the Holy Spirit to come upon you. See your faith as the womb in which Christ is conceived and grows. Then give birth to Him through words and works of love so that He may touch the lives of others.