Though we are in the midst of Lent, we celebrate a holiday on March 25 that is one of the great feast days of the Orthodox Church. The Annunciation to the Theotokos commemorates the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary. The angel foretold that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would become incarnate and enter into this world through her womb.
In the Gospel of Luke 1: 26-38, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Mary is then informed that she will conceive and bring forth a Son, and His name shall be Jesus. Since she has not been with a man, Mary asks how this can be? “And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’”
An Illustration of a Miracle
The icon of the Annunciation is very beautiful. The Angel Gabriel is on the left with his legs apart, as if running to tell the good news to the Virgin Mary. In his left hand is a staff, which is a symbol of the messenger. His right hand is extended as he delivers the message to Mary.
The Virgin sits on an elevated seat. This is a sign that as the Mother of God 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.”
Notice the spindle of scarlet yarn in her left hand. This shows the task she is assigned of preparing the purple and scarlet material to be used in making the veil for the Temple in Jerusalem. She has her right hand raised as a gesture of acceptance in response to Gabriel’s message.
Mary’s garment has three stars referring to her virginity before, during, and after the birth of Jesus. The half circle at the top of the icon represents the divine realm, and the three rays extending from it are the action of the Holy Spirit coming upon Mary.
I was born on November 21, which is the Entrance of the Theotokos, and I love Mary with all of my heart. She represents the epitome of all motherhood, and as a mother and grandmother I pray to her for strength. Her devotion to God and our Lord Jesus Christ is an example for all of us. My grandson’s baptismal name is Gabriel, and this adds even more meaning to this holiday and its beautiful icon.
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is a 501(c)3 and an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United States of America . It is a recognized leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty-two years. We have worked to create a community for both believers and non believers alike by sharing the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. Click to signup to receive weekly newsletter.
Join us in our Media Ministry Missions! Help us bring the Orthodox Faith to the fingertips of Orthodox Christians worldwide! Your gift today will helps us produce and provide unlimited access to Orthodox faith-inspiring programming, services and community. Don’t wait. Share the Love of Orthodoxy Today!