The angel said to her: "Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God ... You will give birth to a son, who will be called the Son of the Most High." And Mary asked, "How shall this be?"
- Luke 1:30-32
Late March, 01 B.C.:
"Mary, I told you there is no such thing as a real angel. Have you been getting enough sleep?"
"But, Mother, a man in a white robe who looked like an angel stood right there in front of me and told me I..."
"Now, Daughter, your mother is right. A lot of people wear white these days. Why, it could have been your Uncle Seth. You know how he likes to play tricks on you. And that story you told us, about having a baby and all - at your age? Yes, that sounds just like something the old fellow would make up."
"It was not Uncle Seth, Father. My visitor was - well, real. And when he told me my baby would be the Son of God I felt so awesome, almost like God was talking to me himself."
"John, what are we going to do with that girl? If she goes around telling everyone what she just told us, we'll be the laughingstock of Nazareth."
"You're right, Martha. Maybe we'd better sign her up for a few sessions at that new counseling center out on the edge of town... ."
June, that same year:
"Mother, I think I'm pregnant. See how tight my clothes are?"
"Don't be silly, Mary. You're just growing up. All children outgrow their clothes when they're 14 or 15."
"Mother, look at me - close. I'm going to have a baby."
"Oh, no! What have you and Joseph...?"
"Joseph had nothing to do with this, Mother, and I respect him too much to have any contact with him like that before we are married. I told you, an angel..."
"John, does that counseling center do abortions? Angel or no angel, we won't be able to hold our heads up in this town if we let our unmarried daughter have this baby - and God knows no one will believe that story she's telling us."
"Joseph, I ran into Mary at the market today and - well, I think you and I had better have a talk. What have you two been up to?"
"Father, I know you're going to have a hard time believing this, but the Holy Spirit of God is the father of her child, not me."
"Sure, Joseph, tell me another one. And if she claims that's the truth, then aren't you the gullible one? Just think what a baby - to say nothing of that concocted story - will do to your business. You are just getting the carpentry shop started and you have a great clientele. Watch the whole thing go down the drain when this scandal gets out. I think you'd better break off your engagement - now!"
"But, Father, I love Mary and - well, an angel spoke to me, too, and I've promised to help raise the child just as if I were the father."
"What? This is worse than I thought. Now my business is going down the drain, too. What did your mother and I do to deserve this?"
"Of all times to take a trip, Mary. Give Joseph power of attorney so he can register for you, and let him go by himself. A woman needs to be with her mother when she has her first baby."
"No, Mother, my place is with my husband. Joseph is so kind to me. I know he'll let me rest often, and he'll find a clean bed for me if the baby comes before we get back. Besides, Joseph's parents, Jacob and Anna, are of David's line, too. I'm sure they will be somewhere in Bethlehem if we need them. Please don't worry - and thank you for believing my angel story, even if it did take you a while."
"Jacob, what's that singing? Look! The sky is as bright as day. Are those - angels?"
"I don't know, Anna, but I've never seen anything like this before. Something's up. Oh, over there. See those shepherds? They just left their flocks on the hillside and they're running down that road toward town. Do you want to go, too?"
"Yes, Jacob, let's go. Listen! They're talking about a baby. Do you suppose...?"
"Oh, look, Anna!"
(Barbara Seaborn is a local freelance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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