Today is Holy Monday and Holy Week begins to move on. But another great thing is celebrated today in the Church, the Annunciation of our Lord. This is the celebration of the announcement by the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive and bear Jesus. Although the incarnation of our Lord appears to human eyes on Christmas, the Lord taking on flesh can be traced to today (March 25th). Luke’s Gospel records this:
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38, ESV)
This is the day on which the Lord of heaven and earth came down to become human. He became human in the womb of Mary. For those who advocate the value and sanctity of life, it starts there – our Lord Jesus Christ became a child in the womb. This cannot be stressed too much as most folks may only think of Jesus becoming human on Christmas Day. He was human before that, just as babies are human before they are born. This day is a good day for Life (but what day isn’t?).
I have heard other calls for this date as an alternate date for having a celebration like Life Sunday (in addition to or as a replacement for the date in January tied to Roe vs. Wade). Obviously in years like this one it is hard to do so since it is also Holy Monday. Next year however, it may be a good idea for congregations to plan pro-life events around this day. This would include not only the instruction of life being in the womb, but also the encouragement of the God-given vocation of mother and father as holy and good work.
As for today, celebrate it by thanking God for in Christ becoming flesh. As this week unfolds to show how humans treated the holy flesh of Jesus, it also shouldn’t surprise us that the child-killing spirit of Herod continues to go after the littlest ones (and oldest ones and any weak ones in between). The world will continue its rage and hatred of God’s gifts, but as Christians in this world we can celebrate today and every day by showing care and concern for life – both in the womb an out of it. Bless a child. Encourage a mom or dad in their vocation.