In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:25-34
Often we picture Mary as a young lady maybe a teenager of 16 or so but she could well have been as young as 12 or 13. This seems shocking today but at the time a Jewish girl could be betrothed at 12 and married within a year. However, if Mary was 12, 16 or older what a shock to be suddenly in the presence of an angel of God. In most cases the first thing an angel says to a human is “fear not”. Here we have the angel Gabriel standing before Mary and telling her that she has been chosen by God to be the mother of His son.
Mary answers that it is impossible for her to bear a son as she is still a virgin. But of course what we see as impossible is no problem for God. Sill for Mary this is quite a problem. She has yet to be married to Joseph and now finds out she will be pregnant with a child that Joseph will know cannot be his. While young girls getting pregnant is not seen as a big deal today that was not the case back then. The best that Mary could hope for was to be sent away maybe to live with relatives in another city. Normally she would have been turned out to fend for herself and in many cases she would be stoned to death. No this announcement would not have been taken lightly by Mary. Her fate would be up to Joseph.
God would not let anything bad happen to Mary and He sent an angel to Joseph telling Joseph of God’s plan. It is a credit to Joseph’s faith that he chose to do the hard thing and obey God rather than taking the easy popular way. Believe me, people are alike and even back then they would be counting the days between the marriage and the birth.
A young girl, an angel and a plan that will change the world all taking place in a little out of the way town in the outskirts of the Roman Empire. In just nine short months God will descend down and take human form.
Have a blessed day,