Oh my goodness! Have I got a story to tell you today. I suppose it happened towards the end of August, or maybe it was the beginning of September…anyway, it doesn't really matter. It was in the Jewish month of Elul—the sixth month of the year.
I was just working at home, washing dishes. You know, chores never end! I was looking out the window and I saw Joseph, my fiance. He was being hassled by a Roman soldier. Here in Galilee, we are at the intersection of many trade routes. And with so many foreign people coming through the area, we get exposed to lots of radical ideas—I have to say, I agree with them! Plus, I am a devout, Jewish woman and I believe we should follow God's command that we are to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger among us. There is a big group of Zealots here in Galilee. They want to fight the Romans. That is worrisome. And that is probably why Joseph is being hassled. The soldiers are suspicious of everybody. I really worry about him! I love him so much.
It was overjoyed when he asked me to marry him! Anyway, I was putting the dishes away, watching Joseph through the window, sort of humming to myself, and suddenly this vision popped in front of me! I was so surprised that I dropped a plate.
The vision spoke to me and said, "Greetings, favored one!" And then I realized that it was the angel Gabriel. I don't know if you know what the name Gabriel means…it means "strength of God." The angel Gabriel was a very important messenger from God. I could not believe that he was there in front of me! Me! What was special about me that Gabriel would be there?
So, Gabriel turns to me and says, "Mary, God has a special job for you. God wants you to have a baby and name him Jesus. Now this baby will be from God, not from your fiance, Joseph. You should name the baby Jesus. And Jesus is going to be a great leader and be called the Son of God."
Well, this was a surprise to me! I'm just a maid! There is no way I could have a baby. But the Angel Gabriel said that I would have a baby, even before I was married. I was really surprised about this. Having a baby born from God is really frightening. I thought about it. About the risks of having a baby out of wedlock—you could be stoned to death! About the possibility of losing Joseph's love. About letting my parents down. But I guess some of the zealot's rebellion rubbed off on me, because you know what I told Gabriel? I said, "I am God's servant, whatever God needs, I will do."
After that, I went to visit my cousin Elizabeth. I had heard that Elizabeth was pregnant and she is my good friend, so I went to see her. When I got to her house, she ran out and gave me a big hug! Then she put her hand on her tummy like pregnant ladies sometimes do and laughed. It seems that when she heard me coming up the walk, her baby felt like it was leaping! I think that it was a sure sign that Jesus and Elizabeth's baby, John the Baptist, were going to be great friends.
After my visit with Elizabeth, I was so inspired and felt so loved, that I broke out in song. Some of the words are:
My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness, lord;
I sing my savior’s praise!
you looked upon my lowliness,
and I am full of grace.
now ev’ry land and ev’ry age
this blessing shall proclaim—
great wonders you have done for me,
and holy is your name.
I have to tell you, I love God, I love Joseph, and I love this little baby so much. I am very happy that I am going to be the mother of Jesus. I really would do anything for God.