Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity The Annunciation of the Lord Share Flipboard Email Print Buyenlarge/Archive Photos/Getty Images Christianity Catholicism Holy Days and Holidays Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Tips Worship Saints Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Scott P. Richert Catholicism Expert M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. our editorial process Scott P. Richert Updated March 22, 2019 The feast of the Annunciation of the Lord celebrates Angel Gabriel's appearance to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and his announcement that she had been chosen to be the mother of the savior of the world. Also being celebrated during this feast was Mary's fiat, which means "let it be" in Latin—her willing acceptance of the news. The Annunciation, which means "the announcement," is observed almost universally throughout Christianity, especially within Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Catholicism, and Lutheranism. Date of the Feast March 25 is the date of the feast unless that date falls on a Sunday in Lent, at any time during Holy Week, or at any time in the octave of Easter (from Easter Sunday through Divine Mercy Sunday—the Sunday after Easter). In that case, the celebration is transferred either to the following Monday or to the Monday after Divine Mercy Sunday. The date of the feast, which is determined by the date of Christmas, is nine months prior to Christmas. This date was set by the seventh century. Type of Feast The Feast of Annunciation is a solemn feast in Catholicism in honor of the Virgin Mary. Common prayers recited include the "The Hail Mary," and "The Angelus." This feast is also called the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lutheran Church considers it a "festival," while the Anglican Church calls it a "principal feast." The Orthodox Church does not consider this a feast in honor of Mary, but rather Jesus Christ since it is was the day of his incarnation. Bible Readings There are several Bible readings or passages that discuss the conception or incarnation of Jesus and the announcement to Mary. Isaiah 7:10-14; 8:10Psalm 40:7-8a, 8b-9, 10, 11Hebrews 10:4-10Luke 1:26-38 The announcement in Luke 1:26-38 is the most detailed: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus.” And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God for with God, nothing is impossible.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.” Roman Catholic History of the Annunciation of the Lord Originally a feast of our Lord, but now celebrated as a Marian feast (in honor of Mary), the feast of the Annunciation dates back at least to the fifth century. The Annunciation, as much as or even more so than Christmas, represents Christ's incarnation. When Mary signaled to Gabriel her acceptance of God's Will, Christ was conceived in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit. While most of the fathers of the church say that Mary's fiat was essential to God's plan of salvation, God foresaw Mary's acceptance of his Will from all eternity. The narrative of the Annunciation testifies powerfully to the truth of the Catholic tradition that Mary was indeed a virgin when Christ was conceived, but also that she intended to remain one perpetually. Mary's response to Gabriel, “How can this be since I have no husband?” in Luke 1:34 was universally interpreted by the fathers of the church as a statement of Mary's resolution to remain a virgin forever. Interesting Fact The 1970 Beatles song, "Let It Be," has the phrases: "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me. Speaking words of wisdom: Let it be." Many Christians interpret these lines to reference the Virgin Mary. In fact, according to Beatles member and songwriter Paul McCartney, the reference is more literal. McCartney's mother's name was Mary. She has succumbed to breast cancer when McCartney was 14. In a dream, his mother had comforted him, which became the inspiration for the song.