The Annunciation, 1913. Oil on canvas, 98 x 124 cm. RF1977-138; Lux1031. Photo: Peter Willi.

An angel in the bedroom- The Annunciation of the Lord- Luke 1: 26-38

Somewhere in the loud voice of the Church, projecting over the centuries, the big “yes” of Mary, is an adolescent girl who was terrified on seeing an angel. Centuries of romanticising Mary’s ‘yes’ has perhaps taken away from her , the  overwhelmingly shocking fear of finding an angel hovering in her bedroom (the bedroom part is prose license). This was big news for Mary and it would take a lot more than a ‘I think you need to sit down and listen to this one’.   And yet from this simple Jewish maiden comes the ‘yes’ that gave us so great a redeemer.

Was it easy for Mary to say yes? Did she truly understand what was even going on? To rob Mary of her human emotions and feelings would do grave injustice to her and to us. We usually tend to get to the end of the story, but what about the beginning? This narrative tells us she was ‘afraid’. I guess that’s putting it mildly. She should have been ‘freaked out’, for that’s what happens when you get an angel in your bedroom, news of your pregnancy, an immaculate conception, promises of a great Son of the Most High who is to get a throne and bewilderment, as to what you are to tell your fiancé, parents, neighbours and God knows who else.

It must have been the longest five minutes of her life, especially when the angel is doing all the talking. Yet her two interjections say so much. It reflects her perplexity and it reflects her surrender. This is what gives me strength when I look at Mary; I find encouragement knowing that I too am afraid of the many things that God demands in my life. True I have not seen an angel in my bedroom, but I can’t deny the many callings to serve Him, the many times He challenges me, the many times He harkens me to obedience. Am I afraid? Yes! Should you be? Yes of course!

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