THE SEASON OF ANNUNCIATION
The Syro-Malabar liturgical year begins with the proclamation and celebration of the historical encounter between God and man in the person of Jesus Christ, the human appearance of the Divine Person. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Icon of Father’s Person and the Splendor of His Glory, “ONE” in essence with Him and the Holy Spirit, emptied Himself and took the form of a servant, became a perfect man and was born of the Virgin Mary, for us men and for our salvation, taking to Himself all the weaknesses of our humanity except sin. It is, in fact, an announcement and proclamation with celebration with this supreme glad news of divine condescension to the human frailty to raise it up to the divine sublimity.
For the whole East Syriac tradition and thus also to the Syro-Malabar Church, the whole period of Annunciation is a big Christmas! December 25th is only the climax of this celebration. According to the true vision of Christian faith, there is no sense in expecting and preparing for the coming of the Redeemer. He has already come two thousand years ago. Today we can only celebrate that historical event in the Church through effective and fruitful signs and symbols and appropriate its salvific fruits in our own life.
The weeks of Annunciation, especially the first part up to Nativity, is also an occasion to turn deeper to oneself, a real self-examination. How far we could creatively respond to this self-emptying love of God? It is in this context, the Church developed the 25-day fasting, which is also an observance very much in common with our fellowmen in other religions of India in connection with important religious celebrations. We are, in fact, called to purify ourselves from all grossness of our humanity so that we may become capable to rise to the divinity of God-man Jesus.
The fullness of the divine plan of God, which is to divinize man and to make him partake in the eternal life is revealed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Hence, the central theme of the season of Annunciation is the Nativity of Jesus.
Every year when we celebrate Christmas it must be celebrated with a renewed attitude and fresh enthusiasm. People who participated the first Christmas showed deep faith, great hope, and sincere love in the coming of the Lord. Mary and Joseph had expressed strong faith in the promises of God. The couple Zacharias and Elizabeth were people of hope and waited for the promises of God to be fulfilled. The shepherds shared great amount of joy and love when they heard the proclamation from the angels "Glory to God in the highest and Peace to people on earth"(Lk 2:14). They were all brightened by the special events. "For the true light was coming into the world, the light that enlightens everyone" (John 1,9).