Above: The Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci
Image in the Public Domain
Theology, Not History–But That Is Okay
The Assigned Readings for This Feast:
Psalm 45 or Psalm 40:5-11 or Canticle 3 or 15 from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Standard Christian theology states that Jesus was fully human and fully divine. I accept this proposition as an article of faith. The Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord emphasizes this doctrine.
Yet it does so in a method which seems entirely theological and ahistorical to me. This does not bother me, however, for the theology is true. Follow my logic: March 25 was a traditional date for God’s creation of the universe during the early Christian era. Thus it made theological sense, from a certain point of view, to place the Annunciation on this date. This emphasized the divinity of Jesus. And assuming a gestation period of exactly nine months emphasized the perfection of Jesus. Thus we have the birth date of December 25. And the presence of a human mother made the point that Jesus was fully human.
I know neither the conception nor the birth date of Jesus. I doubt however, that they were March 25 and December 25, respectively. But that is irrelevant, for the theology behind these dates points to greater truths. That suffices for me.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
JUNE 12, 2010
THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWH, EPISCOPAL PRIEST
Revised on December 24, 2016