In many ways, then, the early chapters of Luke’s Gospel are similar in intent to the classical paintings of the Annunciation and of the other episodes in the childhood of Jesus. In those paintings Mary appears as no ordinary woman; the child is no ordinary child; and every artistic symbol is used to make sure that the beholder grasps the many levels of meaning implicit in what is depicted. Sometimes, pictures of the Annunciation or the birth of Jesus will even have a cross tucked away in the distance, almost out of sight, just as Simeon’s prophecy strikes a sombre note in the midst of all the tuneful celebrations of the Lucan angels. That is one angle on the Annunciation. But, as I have said, there is another point of view to be explored.