When I was growing up, my mother taught me all the things I needed to know. Part of it, of course, was how to run a household, but she didn’t neglect my religious training either. I knew what was expected of me and I longed with all my heart to be able to do it.
Another part of my heart’s desire was Joseph. He is a great carpenter and I love him a lot. When he asked my father for my hand in marriage, I was so happy I could barely stand it.
Then, the angel came. I’ll tell you the truth, he scared me. Men just don’t come up and start talking to young maids. He told me not to be afraid and that I would become the mother of the Son of God.
Mother didn’t mince words when she told me about what went on between a man and a woman, and she was even firmer when she told me about the Law. I knew I had never done the former, so how could I become pregnant?
I asked the angel, and he told me that it would be via the Holy Spirit. I was and would remain a virgin until after the Baby was born. I thought about it a few minutes. However, if God wanted me to do this, I knew He would save me from the Law.
I told him, “Behold I am the handmaid of my Lord, let it be unto me as you have said.”
Not long after that, I knew I was pregnant. Now, you can’t exactly hide a pregnancy, people are going to notice. Before that happened, I told both mother and Joseph what had happened.
They didn’t believe me.
As the angel had also mentioned that my relative, Elizabeth, was also with child, I went to spend some time with her. Elizabeth was old, and should have been past the time for childbearing, but the same angel that talked to me had told her husband, Zachariah, that she would bring forth a son.
When I got there, Elizabeth knew right away. I didn’t have to tell her, her child leapt in her womb for joy. I glorified God for His actions…and still do. I was also glad someone believed me.
After John was born, I went home. Joseph told me that he had also had a dream, and that we would be married. It was such a relief. As I said, I love him very much.
About the time I was due, a soldier came to Nazareth to tell us that a census was going to be taken and that we had to go to our ancestral home to register. For us, that meant an 80 mile trip one way to Bethlehem .
When we got there, the streets were crowded with people. Folks were sleeping on the sidewalks, unmindful of those who had to work to get around them. The inn was full…and then it started. I was in labor.
We’ll skip the part about giving birth. If you’ve done it, you know how I felt and if you haven’t I can’t explain it. The innkeeper suggested we stay in the stable, and I was glad for it. I didn’t much fancy giving birth in the middle of the street with everyone watching.
We had just put the Baby in the manger when these shepherds came running up to the door. If we hadn’t already both seen and talked to an angel, I wouldn’t have believed them, but I do. An angel came and told them that my Son had been born and that He was the expected Savior. Of course we let them see Him, and they actually knelt down and worshiped Him. Then they left, praising God.
On the eighth day after birth, we took Him to Jerusalem . It’s only about six miles from Bethlehem , but it’s all up hill. I was glad for a seat in the shade when we got there. As Joseph came back with our sacrifice, I met Simeon. He and Anna had been praying for years to see the Messiah, and both proclaimed that our Son was the One.
There is a requirement in our religion that I be cleansed after giving birth. As our child was a boy, it only required a wait of about a month, so we took a small house and Joseph did some carpentry work to help us pay the bills.
We were still there, two months after Jesus was born. The most amazing sight you will ever see happened about then. Three richly dressed men came to my front door, asking to see Jesus. Joseph came in then, and we looked at each other. I opened the door and took them to where He was just waking up from a nap.
These men knelt down in front of Him and worshiped Him. Then they gave us gifts. Gold, frankincense and myrrh in richly carved containers. I didn’t know what to say. They told us that they had seen His star, and had followed it to our home. They had never doubted what they would find.
These events have left me speechless. All I can do now is raise my Son to the best of my ability and wonder at what strange thing will happen next. This is an exciting time to be alive, and I AM blessed among women.