Today is April 5, 2008 and there are exactly 264 Days until Christmas. The staff and I won’t be thinking about Christmas plans for another couple of months. However, this past Tuesday, April 1, 2008, many throughout the Church remembered a little known holiday, the Feast Day of the Annunciation. From April 1, 2007 there are exactly 268 days until Christmas or 38 weeks. Of course, that is the general length of the average pregnancy and if we celebrate our Lord’s birth on December 25, then Mary would have been with child on or about April 1.
It seems odd to be thinking about Christmas in the middle of the Easter Season, extending from Resurrection Sunday to the Day of Pentecost, but sometimes that is how God works. In the middle of something, when everyone else is focused on other things, God steps into our lives and says, “Will you do this for me?” “Everyone will think your crazy, you may be criticized for not ‘fitting in’ to what the world expects from you.” Thinking of the angel visiting Mary two weeks after our Easter celebration began seems odd. Yet, in the midst of our spring preparations, expectations of summer vacations and the church’s continued emphasis on the resurrection, God sends an angel to Mary and whispers, “Let’s get ready for Christmas, when I first gave my Son as a gift to the world.”
Always watch and listen for God. He may lead us and work with us in ways that outwardly seem out of step or the seemingly wrong focus at the wrong time. God’s timing is never wrong. God’s gift and God’s call are always, right on time.