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The Annunciation of the Most Holy Theotokos

25 March

one of the

annunciation.jpg

"The Feast of the Annunciation is one of the earliest Christian feasts, and was already being celebrated in the fourth century. There is a painting of the Annunciation in the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome dating from the second century. The Council of Toledo in 656 mentions the Feast, and the Council in Trullo in 692 says that the Annunciation was celebrated during Great Lent." (OCA)

in the icon

In the icon of the feast, the archangel Gabriel approaches the Theotokos as if he is running to bring her the joyful news - she has been chosen to be the Mother of God. He reaches out in greeting to hail her, Full of Grace. The Theotokos is seated on a raised throne, reminding us that she is “greater in honor than the cherubim, and beyond compare more glorious than the seraphim, who without corruption gave birth to God the Word.”  She holds in her left hand the spindle of yarn which she used to do her job at the Temple, weaving the veil for the Temple in Jerusalem. She raises her right hand in acceptance. Mary is always shown in iconography with three stars - on her two shoulders and her head - to symbolize her virginity before, during, and after the birth of Christ.

Above Mary, we can see the rays of the Holy Spirit descending to her.

"In contrast to Eve, who was readily deceived by the serpent, the Virgin did not immediately accept the Angel’s message. In her humility, she did not think she was deserving of such words, but was actually troubled by them. The fact that she asked for an explanation reveals her sobriety and prudence. She did not disbelieve the words of the angel, but could not understand how they would be fulfilled, for they spoke of something which was beyond nature."

In our domestic church...

- We discuss what our response is to God's call and pray that we have the grace to emulate Mary's willingness to say yes to God.

- We talk about the Incarnation and what it means to us that Christ deigned to become fully human for our sakes.  

- We pray the Akathist to the Theotokos

- We paint small clay plant pots with symbols of Mary and plant Marigold seeds, reminding us that today we celebrate the first day the tiny baby Jesus began to grow in Mary's womb.

- We read our books about the feast day

- We hang our Marian banner, have a nice dinner with our Marian napkins, and have a  coffee ring (or something similar) for dessert to remember that this feast leads us back around to Christmas, and back around again in the cycle of the liturgical year.