“Me?” Her thoughts began racing. “But I have never…. he and I have never… He would never…. I would never…. not with ANY man… I mean… not before its right…” Looking intently into the burning eyes of the messenger, she asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
Although the response cut through the fog in her mind, the last phrase burned into her very soul, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Her answer brought a smile to the shining face before her…
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
And just as quickly as the messenger had come, he was gone. Mary got up slowly from the kneeling position she had assumed when the angel appeared. Crossing the room to the door of her father’s house, Mary peered into the bright sunshine of the day. Her eyes not focussing on anything in particular, she lightly placed her hands on her abdomen and began to tenderly guide them across her slender waist. A tear began to roll slightly down one cheek and a song of praise emanating from deep within her soul crossed her trembling lips…
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”
With each line, the smile grew upon her face until she finished in a trail of laughter. “I must tell JoooooOOOOHHHHHJOSEPH! I don’t want to tell Joseph…. How will he ever believe me?” Stepping back into the house, she began to pace back and forth, trying out the conversation in her mind…
“Uh, Joseph, guess who I saw the other day…. No, that’s no good…”
“You know, Joseph, I’ve been thinking…. maybe we should shove the date for the wedding a little closer…. Noooo, shove isn’t a good word….”
“Joseph… You will be such a good father…. No, No, NO!”
“What am I… I mean, HOW am I going to tell him this? This is a miracle… and not you’re run of the mill, Red-Sea-dividing-Jericho-walls-falling-pillar-of-fire-leading-manna-eating kind of miracle! Jehovah…is going to…father a child…in me! What do I say, Jehovah? You know Joseph… He is a good man… a righteous man… the man I love and with whom I want to get old. How can I tell him that I am going to have a baby… BUT I haven’t been unfaithful to him?”
“Well… I guess I will just tell him… Oh, Jehovah…. Please help him to believe me…. help him to believe… You!”
I suspect we all have heard the story. Even if just the part Linus recites to Charlie Brown and the rest of the Christmas play cast. But have you ever wondered about the back-story? How does a young woman go to her “betrothed” or engaged beau, and tell him she is pregnant and the father is God? What kind of child support would that get you? Could you get God to show up for a paternity test? It’s all just laughable. How many tongues wagged in Nazareth?
The scripture describes Joseph as a “righteous” man. He must have been kind, too, because he planned on calling off the marriage… divorcing her “quietly” because he “did not want to expose her to public disgrace.” Do you suppose Joseph thought she was… hmmmm… just a little off?
But maybe… there was just something in her eyes as she told him.
Her eyes, her beautiful eyes…. her beautiful, blue eyes…… Oh, sorry! Wrong eyes…
Mary’s were most likely brown. And I suspect there was a shining fire in them that stayed with Joseph, until an angel invaded his sleep to put an exclamation point on her story. Actually, this wasn’t her story at all. It was God’s story, and Mary intuitively understood she was the conduit through which grace would physically appear. But I bet Mary DIDN’T know…
…just how much it would cost her.
I remember when I first heard the song… Mary Did You Know… (which has become as trite as “Santa Baby” between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day….. I wonder if Leonard Nimoy has recorded either one yet…) I was watching a musical called “The Victor” at a large church around Easter in the early 1990’s. The most powerful scene to me, had two Marys on opposite ends of the stage… one at the manger holding the infant…. the other at the foot of the cross watching her “baby boy” take his last breath. The haunting melody floated above the screams of anguish from a mother’s heart breaking while the young mother holds innocence close to her breast. I am still moved deeply at my memory of it.
When God speaks in loving tones we can’t always be sure they will be pleasant to hear, but we can be sure they will be filled with “peace on earth, and good will towards men…”