When I was young I used to love the tradition of lighting the candles one-by-one on each Sunday in Advent during the run up to Christmas. Today I lit my first candle and it’s glowing happily in the corner. With the temperature plunging to 2 degrees in the last couple of hours it’s a welcome and warming sight.
”And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou has found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS”
March 25th. This is the day upon which the Virgin Mary was told by the angel Gabriel that she was expecting a child, exactly 9 months before his birth.
It surprises me sometimes that all the paintings of Mary at the time of the Annunciation and subsequently with her son that she seems so serene and accepting. I know that there are explanations for this and I also understand that these paintings convey a meaning rather than reality but how would you feel if you received that news out of the blue?
As a 32-year old unmarried woman, 4 weeks into my pregnancy, I was told exactly that.
I was shocked. Scared. Confused but absolutely convinced that it was right for me. But anyone painting my reaction certainly would not have been able to paint a calm persona. I was an educated, confident and independent person. I’m not sure that Mary had these advantages to fall back on-but maybe that’s the point.
Sometimes I wish I could be as calm and as at peace as the Mary depicted in the paintings when faced with such apparent adversity. Or maybe I should stop thinking of life events as challenges and mountains of trouble to conquer and just accept them for what they are.
Part of life.