Today is March 25th . . . the most important date in all history. Seriously.
You know it’s the Solemnity of the Annunciation, because it says so right at the top of the email. But did you know that March 25th is also understood by Christians to be the date upon which God created man, the date upon which Adam and Eve fell, the date upon which Our Lord was crucified, AND the date upon which Frodo Baggins cast the one ring into the fiery depths of Mount Doom (in the novel The Lord of the Rings)? And did you know that they’re all connected?
The 6th century Martyrologium Hieronymianum (the earliest surviving list of Christian martyrdoms and other important dates worth remembering) lists all of those events (and more: the parting of the Red Sea, the final test of Abraham, but not the Frodo one, of course) as being commemorated by the earliest Christians on March 25th. Obviously, these guys weren’t in possession of Moses’ datebook . . . or God’s. But they believed these important events must share a common date because of the way they complement and illuminate and fulfill each other. Each was a beginning or an ending that forever affected humankind.
Jesus Christ died on 15 Nisan of the Jewish calendar, which is March 25 on the Roman calendar. Jewish tradition held that a great man would die on the same day as His conception, so the early Christians determined that His date of conception must have also been March 25th.
The crucifixion of Jesus is necessary because of the fall of Adam. And Mary’s “yes” at the Annunciation is necessary because of Eve’s “no” in the Garden. They’re all wrapped up in one another. As second century Church Father Saint Irenaeus put it, “And thus also it was that the knot of Eve’s disobedience was loosed by the obedience of Mary. For what the virgin Eve had bound fast through unbelief, this did the virgin Mary set free through faith.” Likewise, Jesus’ submission to the will of the Father atones for Adam’s rejection of the will of the Father. Humanity was born AND reborn on March 25th.
So when devout lifelong Catholic J. R. R. Tolkien was writing a story in which a humble hero triumphs over temptation and suffering and saves the world from the forces of evil . . . well, it HAD to happen on March 25th.
There’s a lot to celebrate today. Hopefully you’re going to have waffles, the traditional food of the Annunciation. Find a way to be festive!
Kendra Tierney is wife to a good man and mother to eight pretty good kids. Together they are fixing up a tumbledown hundred year old house. She’s a writer, and a blogger, and a graphic designer, and a homeschooler, and a regular schooler. Her word art is available here. Her book, A Little Book About Confession for Children, is available here. Find out more about her here.