“A bodiless servant was sent to the Virgin who was unsullied in body. One who does not partake of sin was sent to the Immaculate Lady. A luminary was sent to announce the dawn of the Sun of Righteousness. A morning twilight was sent to be the forerunner of the Light of Days.”
Thus, spoke the Holy Hierarch Gregory the Theologian, concerning the event which we celebrate today—the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Most Holy Virgin, and conveyed to her that she was chosen to conceive in the womb by the Holy Spirit, and give birth to the Son of God.
The Church calls this event “the crowning [or beginning] of our salvation”, saying in the Troparion of the Annunciation, “Today is the crowning of our salvation and the manifestation of the Mystery which is from eternity…” The beginning, the first chapter and the starting point of our salvation.
The Lord, the Son of God appeared in this world, was born, and was incarnate of the Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary—the beginning, of the beginning, of our salvation. The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the beginning of the evangelization of the gospel—what the race of men has been waiting for, longing for, though they understood it not—salvation— the coming into the world of the Son of God.
Today, the Archangel of the Lord proclaims the good tidings to the Pure and Immaculate Virgin Mary.
The Annunciation symbolizes the beginning of our salvation. Therefore, the Church of God depicts this icon [often] on the royal doors, which is the entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven.
What a great event has gathered us here together. Humility, purity, submission to the will of God: those are conditions for union with God. And it is these virtues that were fully manifested by the Most Pure Virgin. She brought all of humanity as a gift, as an answer to God, with her purity, chastity, virginity and obedience to God's will. And this is for all of us a prerequisite for union with God, to be with God—humility and obedience to God's will. Many of us have received a special annunciation in this life—glad tidings.
This could be simply worldly joys, situations…The Lord sent us these as consolations. The birth of children, or a happy ending to some unpleasant story in our lives, some achievement—all these are also little annunciations—good news—the good news which strengthens us and encourages us.
But the greatest Good News—the Annunciation—in both our lives, and in the life of all mankind, is the coming of the Son of God into the world—this is the Good News of salvation, the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Good News of eternal life and eternal love in union with God. There is nothing higher and more beautiful than this Good News in this world, and it covers everything, and surpasses any happiness and joy; because there is no greater joy than rejoicing with God, in the Kingdom of Heaven, in love and oneness with all the saints, and the Mother of God.