Monday, March 28, 2011

Why is the Annunciation Celebrated on March 25?

Monday after the Third Sunday in Lent
March 28, 2011

The Lord be with you

This past Friday (March 25) was the Festival of the Annunciation of Our Lord. A member of my congregation asked me why a festival that is linked with the birth of Jesus was celebrated in Lent. I thought that others might wonder the same thing.

In the ancient world, that really didn’t keep track of when people were born all that much, it was believed that people died on the anniversary of the day they were conceived. As it was commonly held that Jesus died on March 25, it was also believed that he was conceived on March 25. The Annunciation is when the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of our Lord and that the birth would be a miracle. She would “conceive by the Holy Spirit,” as the creeds put it. As she believed, so it was. So, upon hearing the words of the angel, and believing them, she conceived.

This, by the way, is also how they computed the date for Christmas. Count nine months forward from March 25th, and you have the traditional birthday of Jesus.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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