SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD
(Isaiah 7:10-14.8:10; Hebrews 10:4-10; Luke 1:26-38)
The story of the “Christmas truce of 1914” has been verified by accounts sent home by the soldiers. It happened that as the First World War became a miserable reality for both sides in the trenches, the Germans made an offer to the British to stop the fighting on Christmas Day. They sent the message along with a chocolate cake. The British accepted the offer with a gift of tobacco for the German troops. Today we take a similar day off in Lent to celebrate the beginnings of Jesus Christ.
It is exactly nine months before Christmas. Figuring that Jesus had a normal gestation, the Church has consecrated today as the day of his conception. It proclaims the gospel story of Mary’s acceptance of God’s offer to be the mother of His Son, Jesus. He will fulfill God’s ancient promise to Israel of a king who will rule forever with peace and prosperity.
We should not hesitate to have a glass of wine today and perhaps a sweet roll with coffee. But beyond breaking our fast, we do well to relate the significance of this day to our Lenten journey. The Son of God became human to proclaim God’s love for the world. Being enmeshed in sin, humans abused the gift and killed him for the Good News. That story unfolds next week in our celebration of Jesus’ victory over sin and death.