(The story of Mary as told by Matthew & Luke—and filled in-between the lines with my vivid imagination. But what’s not imaginary is that we, like Mary, can all be pregnant with the promises of God. “For with God...nothing is impossible! A privilege of a lifetime can belong to each of us.)
My name is Mary. I was born to middle-class parents in Nazareth. My father used his hands to build furniture—really, anything with wood—for a living. I have an older brother named David. I grew up understanding that David was the favored firstborn—and a firstborn son, at that. He stood in line to inherit everything from my father. I stood in line to clean, wash clothing, and cook—everything expected of a girl in our culture. But YHWH had blessed me with a good big brother. David was my co-conspirator and confidante. We’d always had a great relationship and he let me tag along with him most of the time. In fact, it was through David that I’d first met Joseph. They were best friends. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to hang out with the two of them—that wasn’t permitted in our culture. But I’d seen him and knew he was handsome and heard David talk about him enough to know he was a man of good moral character. In fact, I’d hinted to David of my admiration of Joseph in hopes he’d tell our father who had recently told our family it was soon time for me to be betrothed. And it worked! Joseph & I had recently celebrated our engagement with friends and family. Joseph was now working to build our future home and David had offered to help him in the evenings.
But then, the “thing” happened. I was working in my room one morning when an ANGEL appeared to me! I know—it sounds crazy! But it really happened. Gabriel’s first words to me were, “Hello, Mary! You are highly favored by God above all other women. Don’t be afraid!” Of course, I was afraid! No one I knew had ever seen an angel before. I was also very confused. Why me? The angel seemed intent to answer all of my questions. He said, “You will have a baby boy and name him Jesus. He will be the son of the Most High and he will rule his people.” Thoughts were flooding my mind. Every Jewish girl hoped to be the virgin promised to have the Messiah. But how could this be? I could only ask, “How can this possibly happen? I’ve never been intimate with a man.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and overshadow you and you will conceive this son. He will be God’s son!” It was like moments of time—past, present, and future—were flashing through my mind. I was seeing everything which had brought me to this point and every possible outcome to this extravagant offer (because I knew it wasn’t a demand, but a request). I considered them all but in the end, I said, “I’m willing!” And my heart felt the pleasure of God.
I went into the barn to find David. I felt like I was still in a dream but it had all been very real! “David! You’re not going to believe this! An angel named Gabriel just appeared to me and told me I was the chosen one—I’m going to have God’s son, the Messiah!” David dropped the tool he was using and grabbed my shoulders. “What are you saying, Mary?” There was an intensity in him I’d never seen before. I explained it again, “An angel, David! He told me God has chosen me as the virgin to have his son!” David walked in short circles in deep thought. “What’s this going to do to Joseph? Have you thought of that?” Joseph!! Of course I’d thought of him in those flashes before I gave my answer to Gabriel. But...would he believe me? David shook my shoulders in his strong hands again and said, “You must go tell Joseph. I’ll go with you. But first...you have to tell father and mother.” After we’d told our parents of this wondrous event (At this point, fear had moved in—but I kept reminding myself it WAS a wondrous event!), they agreed we must tell Joseph immediately.
My heart was about to come out of my chest as I told Joseph word-for-word everything the angel had said. I could see his eyes dim. And I could tell—he didn’t believe me!! I was crushed.
David didn’t say much on our way home. I could sense he was doubting the whole thing. But then, I began remembering other things the angel had said. I told David, “The angel told me that Elizabeth is going to have a baby, too!” Elizabeth was our mother’s cousin who was as old as our mom and she’d never had a baby until now. “That’s it!” David exclaimed! “We’ll send you to Elizabeth’s until we see what Joseph is going to do.” We both knew we were facing a very scary situation. Joseph could have me killed for being pregnant before we married. The whole community would believe I’d been unfaithful to him if he chose to disclose it. He could also “divorce” me from our betrothal—another possible public humiliation. That meant I’d probably be doomed to never marry. Our consolation was that Joseph was a kind man. But we never knew what could happen with pressure from his family. As soon as we got home, David told our parents of Joseph’s unbelief and suggested he take me to Elizabeth’s. They agreed. We quickly packed and David and I began the short journey to my cousin’s house.
When we arrived at Zachariah & Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth saw me and screamed excitedly! She had a glow on her face as she exclaimed, “You are blessed above all women, Mary, and the baby you’re carrying is also blessed!” She laughed and told me her baby had leaped in her womb when she saw me. I grabbed her and hugged her tightly! Someone KNEW! Someone believed! Even though my parents and brother wanted to believe me, I still sensed doubt in them. But when I looked at David in this moment, I knew he now believed. I wanted to cry, to shout, to sing and dance! My heart was full and overflowing. How could Elizabeth possibly have known unless YHWH had told her?
Peace pushed fear out of my heart. And I was reminded of Gabriel’s words to me, “For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” I soon found out God was proud of his son’s birth—he wasn’t ashamed and didn’t want me to be shamed. An angel appeared to Joseph and told him not to be afraid to take me as his wife—that what I’d told him was true. And God didn’t just speak quietly to Elizabeth’s heart or have an angel speak privately to Joseph. His announcement of our son’s birth was shouted in the skies by an army of angels. God made a public announcement that his son had been born—to the poor and rich, alike! Confirmation after confirmation reassured me of God’s love for me and his son.
I knew I’d never be a perfect mother to this perfect baby boy...but I knew God wouldn’t fail. He would fulfill every promise—just like he’d already done. I had the privilege of a lifetime.