At the beginning of an Advent retreat I attended, a wonderful painting was displayed at the front of the room: The Annunciation by Fra Angelico.* Our retreat leaders invited us all to come look at it and then began a discussion centered on the painting. They encouraged us to notice the humble posture of Mary and the powerful presence of the angel. We also discussed the background imagery of creation, showing Adam and Eve in the Garden. But I found myself most captivated by Mary’s blue robe that symbolizes royalty and surrounds her dress of pale red, which symbolizes her human nature. God was draping Mary in his kingly glory. And she gracefully accepted her calling.
Describe a time in your experience, or in the experience of someone you know, when life’s direction was changed by one event or decision.
“All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27). Picture yourself draped in God’s glorious robes of blue. What thoughts and feelings do you have?
*You can view the The Annunciation altarpiece at the Museo Nacional del
When Mary met the angel she was probably about fourteen years old, as that is when betrothal and marriage took place at that time.
As you reflect on God’s goodness to you, you may want to write a song or poem or letter to God that expresses your joy in him. Then pray or sing or read what you have written. Share your “hymn” with your group or with a Christian friend.