Conception of Jesus
Where: Nazareth, Galilee
Scripture:: 1 Chronicles 24:10
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In late June, or early July, of 6 BC, Miriam (Mary), a girl in her early teens, was home alone. She lived in a small village with a population of anywhere from 200 to 400 folks, with only one spring for water [today]. Nazareth was in Galilee. It was off the main roads and life was “simple” and hard. Her parents had arranged her engagement, the first step toward marriage, with a skilled worker in his 20’s, named Joseph. Joseph was from a town far to the south, in Judea, called Bethlehem.
The engagement was a commitment to, and preparation for, the marriage proper, and might last up to a year. One day Mary would dress in her finest (as much like a queen as possible) and then Joseph, dressed in his finest (as much like a king as possible), would appear at her home, pay the dowry to her father, and take her to his home for the marriage feast. Then they would finally have FULL marital privileges and responsibilities.
Mary was going about her household chores when she was surprised to see a strange man standing in the room watching her. Before she could challenge him, he spoke.
‘You are a fortunate girl’ he said.
‘In what way?’ she asked suspiciously, as she looked around.
‘Relax. I am Gabriel who brought wisdom to Daniel. I have a message for you’.
‘What is it?’ said Mary.
‘God is watching over you. You will very soon become pregnant and will give birth to a son. This is the Holy Spirit moving through you to bring about the will of the Most High. You will name him Yeshua [Joshua/Jesus]. He will establish the eternal kingdom of David. He shall bring the everlasting peace that Isaiah foretold.’
‘But that is not possible’, replied Mary, ‘I am only engaged and will not finalize my marriage for a some time.’
‘With the Lord all things are possible as the prophet Jeremiah declared’, he responded. ‘Even your relative Elizabeth, who is old and was considered barren, is now in her sixth month of a pregnancy through the action of the Holy Spirit’.
Mary replied, ‘I do not understand why I have been chosen, but I will trust in the Lord’.
Gabriel nodded, turned, and left. And Mary did soon find herself pregnant as a sign of God’s acting.