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 shall this be done, because I know not man? was universally interpreted by the Fathers of the Church as a statement of the Mary’s resolution to remain a virgin forever.
- Date: The Annunciation of the Lord is usually celebrated on March 25, 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, hense the April 4 date.