Nine months before the birth of our Saviour, the Angel Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman, who was alone in the quiet of the day. He announced God’s plan of salvation to her and then waited for her response.
Can you imagine what must have been going through this young girl’s mind? Not only the ‘practical’ questions about what would take place and how it would happen. But also the implications this would have for the situation she now found herself in as a betrothed woman; and what it would mean for her family.
Mary’s role was pivotal to the whole plan. Her Yes was a gift to all mankind. The whole of creation must have held its breath – waiting and hoping for her answer to be Yes. It must have let out a collective sigh of relief when that one simple word was forthcoming. Two thousand years later we are still benefiting from that gracious answer.
We know that at the moment of the Annunciation Mary was commissioned by God to bring Jesus into the world. And in a certain sense God extends that same invitation to us. Like Mary we have a choice, we can say Yes or No. Again, like Mary, our answer holds eternal consequences not only for ourselves but for those God has entrusted to us.
For Mary, this visitation comes as something completely unexpected. God disrupts the daily course of her life, overturning its settled rhythms and conventional expectations and drops this “bombshell” into her lap. She, like all of us, must learn to walk by faith, trusting in God, that he will somehow work it out.
To live this lovely feast day within the family there are a number of things you can do. Why not bake a lovely angel cake or the more traditional plum loaf which was very popular in England. It started in Tichborne in Hampshire, when on the feast of the Annunciation flour would be blessed and distributed to the poor and needy. Often it would be baked into a plum loaf.
Or you could take a leaf out of the Swedish people’s book and cook waffles. Apparently this is the national dish of the day when celebrating the feast of the Annunciation because today marks the day when there was some confusion over a pronunciation: “varfrudagen” which means Our Lady’s Day and “vaffeldagen” meaning waffle day! So over time the tradition has been to always have waffles on this feast day. Sounds good to me!