She raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word
The gospel says, “raise your heads” (Luke 21:28). The Lord wants us to look to the future with hope. There are certainly problems, there are situations that create fear; but as Christians, we who believe in Jesus Christ who is to come, we raise our heads.
Raising your head means being able to talk to God. Lifting your head is a gesture of humility in the gospel. It is the one who stands up to meet the Lord and listen to him, to be available to walk wherever he sends us, to be available to listen to his voice, to speak with him like the Virgin Mary did: she raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word.
She raised her head — full of grace — to do the will of God in everything and always to be moved by the Spirit that had descended upon her most holy womb. Mary teaches us to raise our heads; that is not the lifting up of the haughty, the head-raising of the proud, who look at others from above, who are so sure of themselves that they think they don’t need others.
To raise your head in the gospel means raising your head to meet God and abandoning yourself into his hands; it means gazing at him with love and welcoming his love like the Virgin.
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, First Sunday of Advent, 2015 (excerpt)
About the painting:
The archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin that she will bear the Son of God. New Testament (Luke 1:26-38). Above her hovers a dove who represents the Holy Spirit, the medium through whom the Christ Child was conceived. Unusually, the Virgin’s cloak is painted yellow. This color probably had symbolic significance, possibly as a sign of hope and/or purity.