Annunciation of the Virginal Conception

 

Historians believed that the annunciation occurred four months after the betrothal. Gabriel the angel carried two messages: the first one was to Zacharias the priest concerning the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-22), and the second message was to St. Mary concerning the Word incarnate (Luke 1:26-38). St. Mary went to serve the old lady Elizabeth, after she knew about her pregnancy. As soon as the virgin greeted her, both the mother and the six months babe were moved, and Elizabeth said, “… as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:44). Indeed, she was able to feel the babe’s movement, but how she knew about his leaping for joy? John the babe perceived who is in St. Mary’s womb, and attracted his mother’s attention by his leaping, so she was filled by the Holy Spirit.

At Zacharias’ house, three praises were said:

v St. Mary praised with her famous song (Luke 1:46-55),

v Elizabeth praised the Virgin with the fruit of her womb after being filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:42),

v Zacharias praised after the birth of John (Luke 1:67-79)


Giving Birth to the Messiah

 

Christ, the King of kings, was born during the census in Bethlehem, the same city in which David was born (1Samuel 16:1) and was anointed king (1Samuel 16:13). St. Mary gave birth to her only Son, the firstborn, (Matthew 1:25) in a manger. The watching shepherds visited the unblemished Lamb of God in the manger (Luke 2:8). It was suitable that a heavenly sign declared the coming of the Incarnate Word of God from the heaven. So, the unusual star had led the magi to visit Him (Matthew 2:1-12). Indeed, all creation rejoiced for the coming of their Creator to the world, and declared Him openly.

 

When the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, St. Mary and St. Joseph brought Him to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (Luke 2:22), and she offered the sacrifice of the poor (Luke 2:24). They met with Simon the elder and Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:25-38).

 

The Holy Family in Egypt

 

This visit fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah (Isaiah 19:1-19). The swift cloud which carried the Lord Jesus to Egypt was representing St. Mary, who exceeded the clouds in her purity; while the alter in the midst of Egypt represents its Christian Church which replaced the pagan temples where the idols were shaken and destroyed before the Lord. In this regard, St. Athanasius the Apostolic says, “Who among the righteous and the kings dwelt in Egypt, and its idols were destroyed before him… Abraham visited Egypt, but paganism didn’t cease to exist. Moses was born in Egypt but the idol worshipers didn’t change.” The stay of Christ in pagan Egypt declared that He came for the salvation of all, Jews and Gentiles. After their return from Egypt, the Holy Family stayed again in Nazareth.