Today is the Feast of the Annunciation. God hinged His entire plan for our salvation on the will "Yes" of his handmaiden, Mary. And she said "Yes." "Be it done unto me according to God's will."
Isn't this what every Christian wants to learn how to say, all the time? I know it is for me, and yet I so often find myself saying it, and yet chafing against the will of God at the same time. God have mercy.
In Orthodoxy, Mary is not considered the "great exception", but rather the great example. Where she goes; in saying yes to God, in becoming the tabernacle of Christ himself, in being the "God-bearer", the Theotokos in Greek, aka "the mother of God"...so we become as well. She is our mother, since we are called brothers and sisters of Christ, adopted by God, co-heirs. And she is his mother, so our mother as well.
Imagine the cleansing and purifying capacity of carrying God Himself in one's own body for nine months. Yowzers!
And yet, this is not something we don't participate in, for we receive Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist. And therefore we become God-bearers as well.
I can't help but think of this prayer by St. John of Damascus:
"You have taken me captive with longing for you, O Christ. And you have transformed me with your divine love. Burn up my sins with the fire of your Holy Spirit. And make me worthy to take my fill of delight in You. So that dancing with joy I may magnify your two comings."
And so, it is because of what we celebrate on this day, the Annunciation, that we have Christ's incarnation, that we have his offering of Himself on the cross, that we have death trampeled down by death and His resurrection, that we have his glorious ascension, that we have the descent of the Holy Spirit...who fills us, who burns up our sins, so that we can become participants in the life of God.
Our salvation, dependent on a teenage Virgin.
"My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my savior..."
So, what did we end up doing? Vigil last night at my home parish and then Divine Liturgy at the Greek Orthodox Church this morning. And then a history video on the seven wonders of the Ancient world, and trip to the library, a big bowl of popcorn and a Harry Potter trivia game...along with some FRIED FISH for lunch...Glorious Feast Day!