Today we celebrate one of the most significant, if not the most significant, holy day of the year. Why do I say such a thing? What about Easter? What about Christmas? The fact is that without today, those two events would have never taken place.
We should never forget the full importance of today because this is the day that God became Man. In a way it is strange that we put so much emphasis of the Incarnation on Christmas, the day of our Lord’s birth. But in another way it makes sense. Think about it: whenever a friend tells us they are having a baby we say “Congratulations!” The real celebration, though, doesn’t take place until after the baby is born when we can see and hold the baby. But I think this type of behavior really needs to change for the following reason: our society no longer values the life of the unborn.
There really should be a new emphasis on the importance of today’s Solemnity by the Church, or at least by her members, in order to counteract the misunderstanding of our society. Society claims that the unborn are not truly people, and therefore do not have any right to life, until they are born. But on this, the day that our Lord became one of us, we know that is not true. Jesus did not become a Man only after He was born, or after Mary could feel Him moving in her womb, or when He reached any other stage of development. Instead, He was fully Man and fully God, and truly a Person, at the very moment of His conception.
So how can we mark this day’s importance, even though it is not a Holy Day of Obligation. Theologically, you can let this ‘sink in’ by reflecting today on the fact of our Lord’s Incarnation taking place today. Perhaps go to Mass or spend time praying at your local parish – in Adoration if possible. But I also have some ideas on the practical side to mark the importance of this day. When a friend tells us that they are expecting a new child, then don’t wait until the birth to buy the baby a gift. Instead, go get something special to mark the occasion right then. By so doing you would be making a significant point – that the unborn child is a full member of the family of mankind. You could even tell them that you are doing it in recognition of the fact that Jesus became Man at the moment of His conception. Next, maybe we should start giving gifts to family and friends on this day to mark the occasion like we do on Christmas. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant to still mark the supreme importance of this day. Or another idea would just be to have a party. Uh oh, I hear someone saying, “But it is Lent.” Yes, but it is a Solemnity, and even if this day fell on a Friday in Lent there would be no abstinence or penance required. We should mark the special significance of this day and proclaim to the whole world the coming of our Savior as Man.