"'Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you...Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David'...Then Mary said, 'here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.'" (Luke 1:28,30-32,38)
Today, the church celebrates the Annunciation of the Lord. This feast commemorates the angel Gabriels's announcement to Mary that God chose her to conceive Jesus and the conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit at that moment. Mary is the Theotokos, God-bearer, Mother of God.
Mary's role in salvation history is unique, and the Church has always honored Mary for her role. Protestant Christians, historically suspicious of non-biblical speculations and practices, have not shown the same level of interest in, or devotion to, the Mother of God as Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Yet we need to be reminded that Mary is the first and preeminent witness to our Lord.
On this day when the Church celebrates God's promise of the Incarnation, let us join the Church of all times, including the Protestant Reformers, in honouring Mary as the Mother of God and as our Mother.
"[S]he became the Mother of God, in which work so many and such great good things are bestowed on her as pass man's understanding. For on this there follows all honor, all blessedness, and her unique place in the whole of mankind, among which she has no equal, namely, that she had a child by the Father in heaven, and such a Child.... Hence men have crowded all her glory into a single word, calling her the Mother of God.... None can say of her nor announce to her greater things, even though he had as many tongues as the earth possesses flowers and blades of grass: the sky, stars; and the sea, grains of sand. It needs to be pondered in the heart what it means to be the Mother of God." (Martin Luther)
"To this day we cannot enjoy the blessing brought to us in Christ without thinking at the same time of that which God gave as adornment and honour to Mary, in willing her to be the mother of his only-begotten Son". (John Calvin).