The Birth of Christ
Many years ago in the town of Nazareth in the north of Palestine there lived a young Jewish girl, the best and purest there could ever be. Her parents’ names were Joachim and Anne (the same St Anne who is in our Prayer Book Calendar and Common Worship Lectionary against July 26th), and her name was Mary.Archaeological evidence indicates that in the 1st century AD Nazareth was a relatively poor Jewish village covering less than 10 acres, with a population of 200-400 people. The houses were built of stacked field stones with thatched roofs and floors of beaten earth, probably covered with wicker mats. (1)
One day, when Mary was probably about 15 years old (2), something very wonderful happened to her. She suddenly she saw before her one of the Archangels from the Throne of God. His name was Gabriel. “Greetings, favoured one!” he said, “The Lord is with you” (NRSV, Luke 1:28).
Mary could not understand what all this meant, and so the angel went on: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will…bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High…and of his kingdom there will be no end”. The angel then told Mary that her Son would have no human father and so would be called Son of God. “Then Mary said, “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word’. Then the angel departed from her” (NRSV, Luke 1:29-38).
We call this the Annunciation of Our Lord to the Blessed Virgin Mary because the angel made known or announced that she was to be the Mother of the Son of God. We remember this each year on March 25th, often called Lady Day because Mary is also known as Our Lady.