Today’s Reading: Luke 1:26-38
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give 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.” (Luke 1:31-33)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. An angel, the Virgin Mary, and the message that the Savior is soon to be born? Aren’t we in the middle of the season of Lent? What’s going on here? No, you didn’t read the calendar wrong. Today the Church remembers and gives thanks to God for the angel Gabriel’s annunciation of Jesus’ birth to the Virgin Mary. There might still be nine months to go until Christmas Day, but in many ways, Lent is a wonderful time to remember the Annunciation of our Lord.
As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ crucifixion for us, we pause to celebrate His birth for us. As we prepare for the joy of Easter and Christ’s resurrection, we stop to remember the joy of His incarnation for us. As we prepare to celebrate with the angels at the empty tomb of our risen Lord, we pause to remember the message of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary.
It might seem odd to us, celebrating the Annunciation of Our Lord as we prepare to celebrate Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. And yet, for Christians in the ancient Church, this made perfect sense. The date of the Annunciation of Our Lord is March 25th because many in the early Church believed Jesus’ crucifixion occurred on that date. Additionally, many people in the ancient world linked the day of a person’s conception with the day of their death. So, when we celebrate the Annunciation of our Lord in March, in the middle of Lent, the Church is remembering both the Incarnation of Jesus and the crucifixion of Jesus, two events that reveal our Lord’s great love, grace, and salvation for us.
So today, with Mary, we rejoice that God has done and accomplished and made possible what we deemed impossible: His virgin birth and His death and resurrection to save us. Let it be to us, according to His Word! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Lord, as we have known the incarnation of Your Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of the angel to the virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.