On March 25—exactly nine months before Christmas—the Catholic Church commemorates the Annunciation, when the Angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish girl and told her that God would like her to be the mother of the Savior. “How can this be,” Mary responded, “since I know not man?”
Contemporary artist John Collier tells the story of the Annunciation in a fresh way in this painting, which can be found in the narthex of St. Gabriel Catholic Church in McKinney, Texas.
Some of the traditional elements can be found in the painting: The lilies are a recognizable symbol of Mary’s purity. The intact glass pane next to the door typifies Mary’s perpetual virginity. And look closely: A dove, representing the Holy Spirit, rests on a nearby house—not presuming Mary’s response but awaiting it.