Summary: We can learn a lot from the faith of young Mary when she encounters the Angel Gabriel

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One of the aspects of the Christmas Story

that always fascinates and amazes me

is the virgin birth

of our Lord Jesus

It shows us the power of our God,

that he can change the rules of nature

he can do things that have

never been done before

to accomplish his will

That through the gift of the Holy Spirit

God makes the impossible, possible

God can transform the average

and the everyday,

into the spectacular

Mary was just your everyday

average poor Jewish maiden

until God touched her life

And the same is still true with you and I,

what we do is not dependent upon

how good we are,

or how much we think we know

But rather on how willing we are to open

our lives

and our hearts

to God

It is like the old saying

God doesn’t care about our ability

but he cares about our availability

because it is God

not us

who is going to make

what we do spectacular

**But most of us recognize

that the virgin birth of our Lord Jesus

was truly a miracle from God,

However, I often wonder

if we truly understand how much

of a miracle it was

I often wonder if our 21st Century minds understand

the full ramifications of this event

not to the world

because we know Christ came to save

But the ramification for the virgin Mary

In our society

where unfortunately teenage pregnancy

and pregnancy outside of wedlock

has become common place

And where we see actors and actresses

having adulterous affairs constantly

with little to no consequences

I don’t know if we can truly understand

or truly appreciate

what the Virgin Birth meant to St. Mary

It wasn’t just that Mary

had to carry and deliver this child

though that was enough in itself

for that time period

A period when the infant mortality

was well over 35%

and many women died during labor

or even after labor due to infection

That alone was probably enough to frighten

this child named Mary

that scholars say was anywhere between

14 and 17

But the virgin birth

put a lot more than that at stake

for the young Mary

First, if Joseph did not believe Mary

if Joseph does not believe

that this was God’s child in her belly

that this baby was conceived by the Spirit

Joseph could have Mary brought up on charges

and at that time

the punishment for a women

being found with child

while engaged to another

Ranged anywhere from being

ostracized from the community

to being publicly stoned

If she was ostracized than that meant

she would have had to turn to a life of begging,

of begging for everything she needed

Because their certainly was no welfare system

or social organizations that would help her

and their were no jobs for women at that time

The only two options a women had for employment

was prostitution and begging

and the first we can safely assume

that Mary would not have undertaken

And not only would Mary be begging for herself

but should would also be

begging for her child’s survival

**And of course the other options

isn’t any better

she would have suffered a horribly painful

death in front of the entire community

Can you imagine

being 15 or 16 year old child

and knowing that if your fiancé

doesn’t believe your story

That no I didn’t cheat on you,

but really this is God’s son

that those were your only options

begging or death

And not only that,

even if Joseph believes her

and accepts the Baby as his own

which he does

Mary and Joseph are dirt poor

We are told in the second chapter

of the gospel of St. Luke

that at the presentation of Jesus

they gave turtle doves

which Hebrew law tells us

was acceptable only if you could not afford

the regular sacrifice of a cow

They barely have enough money

to take care of themselves

much less a child

or better yet a child

who is the son of God

Though the Angel Gabriel’s announcement

of the coming birth of the Messiah

God’s Son who comes to save his people

is great news to the world

Gabriel’s announcement to Mary

puts Mary between the preverbal

rock and a hard place

I am sure it was good news to her,

but in the back of her mind

those thoughts must be looming

Knowing that she doesn’t have a lot of options

knowing that there could be a lot of negative


if things do not go exactly right

Knowing that this could cost her

her life

But despite all of that

true faith is

in today’s gospel lesson

Despite all that could go wrong,

look at Mary’s response to Gabriel

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