St Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
161 N. Murphy Ave. Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Feast of the Annunciation

Feast of the Annunciation

This weekend we celebrate a moment in history upon which rests the merciful generosity of God and the possibility of the salvation of all mankind. With the feast of the Annunciation the Archangel Gabriel comes to the Most Pure Virgin to announce the glad tidings of her favor before God and the awesome mystery of the offering of God’s incarnation.

We behold the young virgin, being told that she will conceive… that this Child will be conceived in her womb by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

And now all of heaven and earth are suspended awaiting her response… this is the decisive moment for mankind. God, in His love and generosity toward mankind, grants us freedom… the freedom to say yes or no. The freedom to love and to trust Him or not.

So many centuries earlier, our foremother Eve was presented with this choice. The devil sowed the seed of doubt in her mind by suggesting to her that God was keeping something good from her. That God was not to be trusted. And she made that choice… the choice to say ‘no’ to God, to not trust in His goodness and love. And the disastrous avalanche of the fall was born.

Now, here, on this day… another young woman is offered the choice to trust God or not. The will of God is suspended for a moment, awaiting the response of this young girl. And listen to her words… ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.’ And at this moment of consent, of complete humility and trust in the goodness of God, the Holy Spirit overshadowed her, and our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in her womb!

What an indescribable miracle this is! Not only the unfathomable incarnation of God, but the generosity and love of God to respect this freedom of our consent to His love!

And this, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is what makes our Christian life both so wonderful and so challenging! For God does not force Himself upon us… He stands at the door of our heart and He knocks. He awaits our consent and our determination to open that door of our heart or not.

It is no coincidence that the royal doors of the holy altar are always adorned with an icon of the Annunciation. This moment… this moment of God offering Himself to mankind and of mankind, personified in the young Virgin Mary, making the choice of assent, to say ‘yes’ to God… this is the moment of the beginning of our salvation.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ… the feast we celebrate this weekend is indeed the beginning of our salvation! And the wonderful thing is, as our holy father and wonderworker Herman stated, each day and each hour and each minute may be the beginning of our salvation. Just as the Archangel Gabriel announced the coming of Grace to the Holy Virgin and all of creation was suspended upon her response, so too does God and all of creation hang in the balance upon our daily and hourly and momentary choices to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God.

Through the inspiration and prayers of our Most Holy Lady Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, may we have the courage and the trust and love to always say ‘yes’ to God.

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