I’m not much of a biblical literalist—you won’t catch me worrying about empty tombs, or wine from water, or broken bread that never runs out—but somehow the annunciation always catches me and makes me wonder. What I wonder is what it was really like. Films and novels always struggle here: is there a voice? a body to the voice? are we talking about a whisper in the wind or an ordinary caller with an extraordinary message? should we see it all in glorious Technicolour or must we catch the nuance in a busy woman’s quiet eye? should there be special effects and soaring music or just a startled soul wondering what she was letting herself in for?
That’s what I wonder … but why, well, why is another story. You see I wonder whether there aren’t annunciations everyday, in every place. I wonder if Gabriel and his ilk aren’t hurrying angel-wise even now, eyes full of messages simple as sunlight, disturbing as day. And I wonder whether I’m missing them—whether they pass me by, no more than a queasy plunge in the pit of my stomach, no more than a shiver of significance twisting down my spine, no more than a burden of joy briefly shouldered and just as swiftly shelved.
Are there frustrated angels with us even now, even here, brushing by on feathered feet, breathing benedictions, and aching for imagination to shape mystery into message and give them voice. For I imagine them mute—mute and barely visible—until a human heart discerns them, fashions them flesh, and offers them speech.
Are they here now, heartfelt and eager and pregnant with possibility? For what was born, an age or two ago, of a young woman’s “yes” they still bear in urgent arms to be born again in you or in me—that same child of God who might change the world. Might change the world, might lift up the lowly, might visit us with peace—if only we, like she, have a vulnerable heart, an imagination full of hope, and the humble courage to consent.

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