Today is the Feast of the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary. It is one of those feast days that often falls in the midst of Lent. The contrast between the Annunciation, which is a story we hear annually in Advent as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, and the season of Lent, when we prepare for Jesus’ crucifixion, might seem odd. Yet it is only in the light of the mystery of the Incarnation that we can understand the mystery of Jesus’ death on the cross – that God became fully human to live the life we live, to share our sorrows and joys, and to pour out Love upon Love for us. The Easter mystery of the Jesus’ Resurrection deepens the Christmas story and moves us beyond the cute, little baby Jesus to see the Savior of the World.

Mary, the young woman, the teenager, is open to God and God’s promise in ways that amaze us. She says Yes to God when asked to do something that broke all conventions and boundaries, even that between what is Divine and what is Human. Mary is a model of faith and trust but she does not sit quietly, despite all those Renaissance art scenes. The Magnificat is the formal name for Mary’s song, which speaks of the hope of a rabble-rousing God.

May you magnify the Lord and rejoice in God your Savior on this day!

And to encourage you in that, you might check out this version of the Magnificat, recorded at St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church, New York City. Click here to hear the recording on Vimeo.