The liturgical year of the Syro-Malabar Church begins with the period of Annunciation. The four weeks in preparation to the feast of the Nativity of Jesus, celebrated on 25th December constitute this season. Since we practise abstinence from 1st to 25th December in preparation for Christmas, we call this period “25 days Lent”.
The salvific acts which found fulfilment in Jesus Christ begin with the birth of Jesus. This season is called ‘subbara’ in Syriac language. The meaning of this term is ‘declaration, ‘announcement’ etc. What angel Gabriel announced to holy Mary was the greatest glad news to humanity that eagerly waited for the Saviour. Thus, this season is developed in the context of the mystery of incarnation completed in the fullness of time. The Church recalls during these days the announcement of the birth of John the Baptist, the predecessor of Jesus, and also the joyful event of the birth of John the Baptist. As a preparation for the celebration of the mystery of incarnation, this season also recalls creation, disobedience of our first parents and its consequences, the miserable state of the broken humanity, the promise of salvation offered by God, God’s covenant with humanity, and the prophecies about the Saviour. During this season we also meditate on the role of Mary in the history of the plan of salvation.
The readings, prayers and hymns of the season remind us that like the people in the Old Testament who became aware of their miserable condition and their hope for the Saviour, the people of the New Testament also should become aware of their helplessness and sinful situation and walk towards Jesus and give place in their hearts for Jesus to be born.