Annunciation of the Theotokos

Today is Annunciation Day. On March 25th, we always celebrate the Annunciation of the Theotokos. This is when the angel came to Mary asking her to become the mother of Christ, and even though she was worried about it, she said yes. She kept Him safe as He grew in her womb. After He was born, Mary nursed the baby Jesus, and changed His diapers. She loved him as a mother loves her baby. She kept Him safe as He grew into a little boy, and then a bigger boy, and then a man.

In Springtime, we see flowers beginning to grow. Many people plant Theotokos Gardens as a way to remember the mother of God. The garden can be outside or inside and is planted with flowers, especially ones called Mary’s Flowers, such as Forget-me-not (Eyes of Mary), Zinnia (Little Mary) and Bachelor’s buttons (Mary’s crown). Icons of the Theotokos, like the Unfading Flower icon, are put into the garden, and the garden becomes a special place to pray.

Tending the garden and tending to our church life are much the same. As soon as we stop tending and watering our garden, it will begin to wither, giving space to weeds. It is just as necessary to watch over the garden of our hearts, carefully growing the good seeds of faith.

‘Tending the Garden of our Hearts: Daily Lenten Meditations for Families’ by Elissa Bjeletich and Kristina Wenger offers family devotions based on the scriptures for each day of Great Lent, including questions to discuss and ponder and an appendix full of hands-on activities to bring the lessons of the season to life. Whether you use it every day or dip into it occasionally as time permits, this book will help the whole family get more out of this season of the Orthodox year. Available at Ancient Faith and also available as an audiobook and ebook.

(from St. Aidan Orthodox Church March 2024 Newsletter)