The immediacy of the Annunciation
When I imagine the Annunciation in my mind’s eye, I see Gabriel appearing to Mary. He’s no cuddly cherub, but is kind of scary looking. (After all, he regularly stands before God and just struck dumb the priest Zechariah.) The outcome of this conversation is much more positive, though, with Mary proclaiming her Fiat: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then what? I had always imagined some period of time passing between Gabriel’s visit and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe two weeks.
However, as I examined artwork depicting the Annunciation, such as this one from Jan Van Eyck, I realized that some of them show a dove hovering nearby. To me, this means that, as soon as Mary said, “May it be done to me according to your word,” the Holy Spirit was ready to swoop in and overshadow her, impregnating Mary with the life of our Savior.
Boom! No delay, no hesitation, no time for second thoughts.
This is sobering and exciting at the same time.
Sobering, because when we say “Yes” to God, we’d better say it with certainty, since God takes us at our word. The results may happen faster than we imagine, perhaps instantaneously, so we’d better be ready.
Does this mean that we should say “No” to God? Absolutely not.
And that’s the exciting part. If we say “No,” what will we miss? Suffering, trials, tribulation? Probably. But those are far outweighed by incredible spiritual experiences and blessings beyond measure.
Your best bet? Say “Yes.” Immediately. And get ready for a great ride.