The annunciation might be the one moment in time that is portrayed in art history more than any other. Countless artists have painted and sculpted Mary sitting in her room, often with an open book, and a basket of needlework at her feet, and the angel facing her, with one hand uplifted as he makes his announcement. Often we also see the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, hovering somewhere nearby, waiting to play its part. Mary says “Yes,” the angel leaves, and that’s all we get.
But my question for Advent is, what happens next? In this season, we sit with Mary as she ponders the changes that are happening within her body, her changing role in society, and the sheer unexpectedness of the direction her life has taken! In this piece, we see the beginning of the next chapter in the story; the angel is leaving, the dove has settled on the windowsill to keep Mary company, and she has picked up her ball of yarn and started making a blanket for this baby she hasn’t met, but who has suddenly become the most important person in her life.
It might seem difficult to feel love and devotion for someone we can’t really know yet, but this is just the state of pregnancy. In the midst of this mystery, sometimes feeling joy, sometimes apprehension, we devote ourselves to being ready inside and out; making our surroundings and hopefully our hearts into a hospitable dwelling place for the Holy One.