Have you heard the story of my life? I’m sure you have – the calm, gentle Mary who submitted to God’s will and gave birth to the son of God?
I want to tell you another version of the story….
I was young, only 14 when it happened. There was a young man in our village – David. I would often see him when I went to the well to get water or when I was pasturing our sheep. We would talk while we watched the sheep and well, I fell in love with him. We wanted to be married but my parents wouldn’t allow it. They had betrothed me to a man named Joseph. Joseph was a good man, but older. I liked him well enough but couldn’t imagine a lifetime of sharing a home with him. I was devastated to know that David and I could not be married. I argued and fought with my parents about it, but they would not listen to reason.
And then I realized I was pregnant. It doesn’t really matter how it happened but there was the fact. I was so afraid…What would people say? How would Joseph react? He wouldn’t want me now…I thought I would be at least safe from marrying him. But I could be stoned to death. I could be thrown out of my parent’s home and left to fend for myself alone in the world, pregnant and then with a child.
And then something miraculous happened. I had a visitor. Someone I had never seen before, he called himself Gabriel and said he was an angel – a messenger from God. As a good Jewish girl I knew the stories about angels but never thought I would see one myself. Angels were from the ancient history. They don’t just go around appearing to anyone these days.
And Gabriel said to me ”Rejoice for God is with you.”
What do you mean rejoice? I’m about to be thrown away and maybe even killed and you say rejoice? What is there to rejoice about? God is with me? Where? I don’t see God. God has abandoned me and left me to my fate.
“Don’t be afraid.”
I am very afraid. My fear is consuming me and eating me up inside. I don’t see any way out of this. I am on my way to die.
“Don’t be afraid. The child you will bear will be called Jesus which means deliverance.”
How? I may not live to see this child’s birth.
“God’s spirit will come upon you and this child will be of God.”
I struggled with what Gabriel had to say. I thought about it for days. Looked for another way out. I stewed and fretted. I hardly slept and finally I realized that this was my only chance for life. I had to trust the messenger from God. The next day when I went out to fetch water, Gabriel was waiting. I told him that I would let God use this child and this birth to change the world.