“Mom, I’m pregnant.” Mary said to her mother.
Astonished, Mary’s mother responded, “Mary, you know that you and Joseph shouldn’t have had sex until you were married. What were you thinking?”
“Mom,” Mary replied, “The baby isn’t Joseph’s.”
Mary’s mother looked at her daughter, trying to process what possibly could have happened. “Oh, Mary, were you raped by one of those awful Roman soldiers?”
“No, Mom. I never had sex with anyone. The father is God.” Mary replied.
Can you imagine a conversation such as this one in a small house in Nazareth? Yet, it could have been the conversation between Mary and her mother. During it, Mary tried to convince her mother that she was carrying a baby who God fathered. Repeatedly, Mary stated with conviction what she believed was fact. She wouldn’t be swayed. We don’t know if Mary ever convinced her mother that her pregnancy was from the Spirit of God; however, Mary’s father was told of Mary’s pregnancy.
Mary’s father had to take the news to Joseph, Mary’s betrothed. Joseph denied that he was the father of Mary’s child. Mary’s father told Joseph exactly what Mary told her mother. Probably, neither man believed Mary’s statement that the Spirit of God got her pregnant. Joseph determined to set Mary aside quietly so that she wouldn’t be stoned for adultery. However, God intervened. Joseph had a dream in which an angel told him to marry Mary. When Joseph woke, he took Mary home to be his wife; but, had no sexual intercourse with her until after Mary’s son was born (Matthew 1:20-25).
The next several events were affirming to Mary. Joseph took her (his wife) with him to Bethlehem. Shepherds told a story of a heavenly host announcing the birth of the infant to them. In the temple, both Simeon and Anna identified baby Jesus as Messiah. Important astronomers came to Bethlehem to worship the young child. These wise men brought gifts, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, for the child. The Bible noted several places that Mary remembered these events and pondered them in her heart. Ponder means to contemplate, deliberate, or think over. Being a teen-ager, I bet Mary also concluded: “Good! I have been justified. Now, Joseph won’t think that I betrayed him with another man.”
God told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt, so they would be safe from King Herod’s wrath. Several years later, Joseph’s family left Egypt; but, rather than return to Judea, they traveled north and settled in Nazareth. Resettling in Nazareth was hard for Mary. Her reputation as a virtuous woman was profoundly compromised in the Nazareth community. Anything Mary said to influence others that her pregnancy was a supernatural event or that her son was the promised Messiah was met with an eye roll and the equivalent of “Yeah, right.” Mary and even Joseph had a difficult life in this small insular town.
Copyright 12, 28, 2020: Carolyn Roth