The angel delivered the message of the incarnation to a fourteen year old Jewish girl. He told her she was going to bear a child who was the son of God. The girl, Mary, accepted the will of the Lord.
She was a girl of a good Jewish family, well educated in the sheltered and privileged environment of the Temple. She lived at home and was engaged to Joseph, her cousin. She seemed to be doing all the right things when suddenly she announced to her parents and her fiancee that she was pregnant! Many mothers of a teenage girls are familiar with that situation. Anna and Joachim would not have been pleased. What a treasure Joseph was to believe the strange explanation of her pregnancy and marry the girl - who else would have believed her? She lived in a close knit community. She must have suffered from the inevitable gossip and censure of such a community.I am sure they all knew how many months pregnant she was at the wedding. How brave she would have had to have been. They tell us she kept the things the angel said to herself, and pondered them in her heart.
We can sympathise so well with the story of the Visitation. Mary travelled to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. Ho she must have been relieved to have been able to escape the immediate family and confide in a sympathetic older woman. What a sympathy Mary must have for unmarried mothers and their mothers.
Your young daughter comes home and is pregnant- How do you react?
As a mother: To whom do you go for advice, for comfort and support?
I was a young pregnant mum - and married when 3 months pregnant. I remember the remarks and comments only too well.I had no big secret to keep - and my husband to be accepted his responsibility too. It was all simple and straight forward. Not so for Mary. And she was 4 years younger than I was at the time.
Unfortunately I cannot ask my mum what her feelings were, I do know once over the original shock, she supported me totally saying , " I never passed judgement on other mothers when their daughters got pregnant hoping and praying it wouldn't happen to me. If it did, that I would know what to do. Nothing in life is a guarantee". My beautiful daughter is now 42.
After her marriage and late in her pregnancy, Mary travelled with her husband to Bethlehem for the census taking. That poor girl, you know how it feels to make a long car trip when you are pregnant with baby kicking on the things inside you so you cannot sit comfortably. Or you are young and have no money so you have to work till late in your pregnancy sitting, or worse standing all day.
They say Mary's journey was on a donkey, what an ordeal for that girl. She must pay special attention to the prayers of pregnant women.Especially those missing their parents.
Our first home was in Wellington - about 650 km away from my parents. A long, tiring car ride. Too far for visits home to mum and dad, no mobile phones for quick calls and text messages.
Next, the poor young girl, blessed by the Lord certainly but still frailly human, had to bundle up her baby and flee with Joseph to Egypt- she became a refugee. Women who have come from countries far away and felt the inestimable loneliness of being aliens, Mary knows how you feel.