Luke 1.26-38 is known in Christendom as “The Annunciation”. A prominent elderly Jewess named Elizabeth, who had been barren her whole life, was 6 months along when an angel visited her young cousin Mary. The angel announced, “You will conceive and give birth to a son!” Mary was a little upset by this. “Wait! What?” she protested. “I’m still a virgin!” (See Luke 1.34.) There was no doubt strange things were happening!
The angel assured her that all was well. She wouldn’t lose her virginity. Yet she would give birth to a baby boy who would be called the Son of God. These words terrified Mary, but she gulped and maintained her composure (see Luke 1.38).
Mary said to the angel:
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
Let it be done to me, according to your word.
Dixit Maria ad angelum:
Ecce ancilla Domini,
fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Composer Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612) put these remarkable words of Mary to music centuries ago. And the Choir will sing them Christmas Eve in the Sanctuary.