A Contemporary Annunciation

Could there be a more appropriate story for advent?
The wife of the second in line to the British throne is going to have a child, and, because of agreement over changes in the law of succession whether the child is a boy or a girl they will, all things being equal, inherit their father's throne...
The news media on this side of the Atlantic has gone potty over the news, and to judge by the magazine cover on the left, I suspect it will get a fair amount of coverage in our former New World colony... And whilst I am happy for the royal couple and hope that Kate feels better soon, I doubt that I will read much of what the media has to say about the progress of her pregnancy in the months to come (just as I gave their nuptials a by-ball)... 
But the great joy around the world that has greeted the announcement of Kate's pregnancy made me think of the contrasts with an announcement made to a frightened young girl in Nazareth 2000 years ago...

Could there be a more appropriate story for advent?
  • How about the story of a young Muslim girl killed because her father thought she was pregnant?
  • How about the story of a woman whose planned pregnancy turned out to be ectopic, threatening her life and preventing her from having future children naturally?
  • How about the story of the Northern Irish woman, who like the Duchess of Cambridge suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, which so seriously affected her relationship with her child and husband, that when she had a recurrence of it in her second pregnancy and didn't get the psychological help she needed, she felt she had no option but to board a plane to the UK and have an abortion?
  • How about the stories behind the near 200,000 abortions carried out in England and Wales last year?
  • How about the story of Savita Halappanavar who died through complications in her pregnancy and was reputedly denied a possibly life-saving abortion because "Ireland is a catholic country"?
  • How about the stories of the third of a million women who died in childbirth around the world last year?
  • How about the story of why the maternal mortality statistics for women in Britain are worse than those in Hungary, Poland and Albania, and why the statistics in the USA (with its wonderful healthcare system) are twice as bad again?

Some of these stories made public headlines... some only made for private heartache...
They may seem out of tune with our traditional reading of the annunciation... but which of them has more echoes of the original. 
The announcement of a child to be born in the most privileged of surroundings, or into a world full of death and fear?

ps. After the original post a friend put this on my facebook timeline...



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