So, how did everyone celebrate Annunciation Day this year?
The annual celebration of the Angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear the Son of God came and went last week (Thursday, to be exact) with little or no recognition from evangelical Christians here in the United States. I must admit that even I, as someone from a liturgical background (Lutheran) and with an interest in the Church calendar, missed the date. I’m guessing I’m not alone in that.
While most evangelicals would probably dismiss such a commemoration as something paticular to Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox traditions, Ted Olsen at Christianity Today posits that such a remembrance should be something that traditional Christians embrace and celebrate. In the Annunciation, Olson claims, two key issues that have defined conservative Protestantism are brought together—the historicity of the Virgin Birth, and the divinity of Jesus. “In a theological sense,” says Olson, “the Annunciation could be of greater significance than Christmas.”
The article gives a number of reasons why Protestants generally don’t view the Annunciation on the same level as Christmas—the establishment of different worship patterns, the discomfort of some Protestants with anything even remotely Marian in nature, the historical recoginition of birthdays over “conception days” (the latter of which, admittedly, would be a little strange), the fact that it falls within such close proximity to Good Friday and Easter. Still, it is hard to dismiss the significance of a feast that celebrates the moment God reached down into His creation and took human form.
Should evangelical Christians place more emphasis on the Annunciation? What would that look like?