Today is Friday, March 25. On the Western Christian calendar, today is Good Friday, the day that the church remembers the death of Jesus on the cross. It is an interesting coincidence of the church calendar that today is also the Feast of the Annunciation. The Annunciation recalls the announcement made by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she would conceive the Christ child.
The timing of the Annunciation is a logical extension of when Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. At Christmas, we are reminded of and celebrate the birth of Christ. Nine months earlier, on March 25th, the church remembers the conception of Christ as a human.
In European culture, for centuries, March 25th was celebrated as new year’s day since that day commemorates the beginning of Christ’s humanity, which in their understanding, did not start at His birth but at His conception.
This merge of these two church feasts on a single day is a very rare occurrence. It happened only three times in the 20th century (the last time being 1932). It happens only twice in the 21st century (in 2005 and this year). The next time it happens will be in the mid 22nd century in the year 2157.
Please take time to reflect on the two biblical events being remembered today. The start of Jesus’ life as a human being. Though being God throughout all eternity, He started His existence at the Annunciation. Decades later, He would fulfill His calling to die a sacrificial death on behalf of His people. With that death and the resurrection that happened only days later, the Lord Jesus brought new life to those who would trust in Him.
Truly, this is a day for us to consider God’s gifting of life and death and life.