I was sitting by the fire thinking about all that Jesus had been teaching us.  Some of what he said made complete sense, but there were still things that baffled me, and others I outright disagreed with.

We were on our way to Nain and there was the usual group tagging along.

“Peter or would you prefer Simon?”  Her voice was quiet, but it still made me jump. I thought everyone was asleep. 

I turned toward the voice. “I’ve gotten used to Peter, so that’s fine.” It took a minute for my eyes to adjust to the darkness after staring into the flames.  “Mary?”

“You know that he’s not all that he appears to be right?  You do realize how special my son is?  And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother.”

“I wouldn’t have left my boat if I didn’t think he was special.  When he’s teaching, it’s amazing.”

“I don’t mean special that way, there are any number of great teachers out there.  Did Jesus ever tell you about his birth?

Now, that was a weird question. I don’t think anyone has ever told me about their birth.  Nobody, ever.

“No, I don’t recall ever having that conversation with him.”

She came closer to the fire. “Do you mind if I have a seat?  You need to hear this story.”  Without waiting for an invitation, she came in closer and joined me at the fire and told me this story:

I was just a teenager in love when it happened.  Joseph and I were in the final stages of our betrothal and we were so excited about the big day.  Our families had known each other forever it seemed, and it was always assumed that someday Joseph and I would be married.

We had our future planned out; he had always loved working with his hands so he would follow in his father’s footsteps and take over the family carpentry business, and I’d raise a whole herd of kids.

I still remember the day it happened, as if it were yesterday.

I had been working on plans for the wedding banquet most of the day. Who would we would invite, what I would wear, what the menu would look like, there were a thousand details that had to be worked out and of course both mothers had to be involved.

That night, in the wee hours of the morning I woke up with the sensation that I wasn’t alone in the room. 

It wasn’t scary at all, maybe just creepy, because I definitely knew that someone else was there, but there wasn’t.  And then there was. 

She just appeared, well from the topic I assumed that she was a she, but it was hard to tell.   It was more of a glow and a presence. 

And I’ll never forget the first words she spoke. “Hello Mary, God is with you.”

I didn’t know what to think. Where had she come from? And how did she know my name? 

“Who are you?” I asked, “And what are you doing in my room?”

“My name is Gabriel, and I’m God’s messenger.  Because you have found favor with God, you will have a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be called God’s Son.  He will be great and will take his place on the throne of David.  His Kingdom will never end, and he will rule over God’s people forever.”

“Really? Because I’m not even married yet. When is this supposed to happen?  I hope there’s some time after the wedding. I don’t want people talking.”

She just smiled and said, “It’s already happened Mary.  Your son will be called the Son of the Most High, God will give him the throne of David and his Kingdom will last forever.  His name will be Jesus.”

“No, that can’t happen. I’m still a virgin.  Joseph and I agreed that it would be our gift to each other.  I can’t be pregnant. I’ve never been with a man, not with Joseph not with anyone.” 

But something had changed, I could feel it.

“Mary, your child is a miracle child.  Your son was conceived by the Holy Spirit; his father will be God himself.   God has done the impossible in your life.”

Pregnant?  A son? Jesus?  My mind was swirling with a million questions, but a peace settled over me.  I had no idea how it would work out, I just knew it would.

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