In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “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, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1: 26-38
On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation, take some time to reflect on the above reading from Luke’s gospel. This passage is filled with God’s promises and revelations to mankind, and also shows us Mary’s example of fortitude and humility, borne of her great love for her Creator. Here are a few ideas for celebrating the Feast of the Annunciation with your family, adapted from this website:
-On this day, you could attend Mass with your young children and ask them to pray especially for the unborn and for their parents, especially those who are struggling for one reason or another.
-Since this day is a Solemnity, you may choose to forego your Lenten penance obligations, or to celebrate with a special dinner or dessert. You can the above website for some great ideas on symbolic desserts.
-One year on this Feast day, I took a light blue candle and carved a little nook in the center, placing a picture of baby Jesus inside. I then cut a small piece of tissue paper to cover the picture, and pinned the tissue into the wax with a thumbtack. I explained that the candle symbolized Mary carrying baby Jesus in her womb – although he was hidden within her, this did not make him any less real. I also took the opportunity to talk about the Visitation, and how the baby John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb as Mary approached. My children really liked this activity and it seemed to help them better understand the Annunciation and Visitation. If you decide to do this activity, the candle could be any color – I just happened to have light blue on hand.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen!