Annunciation: An Unexpected Visitor

Regular readers might remember an earlier post in which I gave a commentary on John Collier’s artwork Annunciation. That same picture is the inspiration for this fictional extract from Mary’s diary.

An Unexpected Visitor.

Annunciation by John Collier

Annunciation by John Collier

It’s been a strange day. I had a feeling of expectation almost since I left for school this morning. I didn’t listen to my lessons as I should have, a couple of the teachers shouted at me for not paying attention and at break times some of my friends asked if I was ok. I usually like school but today I just couldn’t concentrate and was glad when it was over and time to go home.

I walked home with Kirsty as usual, until we reached the end of her road, then I was on my own until I got home a few minutes later. From the time Kirsty left me, the odd feeling I’d had all day seemed to magnify. I had a feeling of unease that seemed to become more intense with every step I took toward my front door.

As I turned into my road I could see my home. Everything looked normal as I got closer but the odd feeling persisted. When I turned onto the path to our door, I noticed something unusual. The potted lily, that usually stood to the side of the door, had been moved. I wondered who had done it; it wouldn’t have been Mum or Dad.

I picked up the plant to put back and as I stood up I nearly dropped it again. A guy was standing there. There was no one before I bent down. I just stared for a few moments. I hope I didn’t have my mouth hanging open.

He looked young, only a little older than me but he had an air of authority and experience about him, like someone much older. He was neat and tidy, clean shaven but dressed in unusual clothes like robes. As the thought of clothes struck me, I realised I was chilly. An evening breeze had sprung up and I had no cardigan.

He gave me a few moments to collect myself, before introducing himself as Gabriel. I was surprised, but I didn’t sense anything amiss, so invited him in. He said no and that he was here just to give a message, which wouldn’t take long. He asked if I was ready and said the message might come as a bit of a shock.

He spoke slowly and calmly, at the same time taking my hand in his to steady me. ‘You’re going to have a baby’. He was quiet for a few moments then said, ‘It’s a special baby’. I didn’t know what to say, couldn’t think. When the shock wore off and thought came back, I worried what mum and dad would say, and my boyfriend too.

I started to ask how but Gabriel held up a hand to stop me. ‘Look within yourself’ he said and when I did I felt what he said was true. I knew it would be hard but his calm words made me feel it would be allright.

He released my hand and I turned to unlock our door. Just before going in I heard, or maybe sensed without hearing, his last few words. When I looked back, he’d gone as suddenly as he’d appeared. There was just the echo of his final words in my head, ‘Call the boy Jesus’.


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