Simple words which we know so well, yet with such explosive import! Never before had anyone throughout human history become pregnant by the Holy Spirit! This wasn't some monstrous sex act between the divine and a human being as in Greek mythology, but Mary retained her virginity whilst becoming 'with child'. The embryonic Son of God was placed in Mary's womb and there He would grow like any other until the nine months were complete and Mary would give birth. This would be the first of many things in which the actions of Jesus would turn the normal upside down. A few practical, contextual issues: Jewish society had a three step process to marriage. Where we traditionally have engagement and then marriage, Jewish couples were engaged, often as children through parents or a matchmaker; then they were betrothed. This was the point where the girl could choose to break off the relationship. If she chose to continue, it became a binding contract lasting a year and culminating in marriage. When Mary chose to continue with Joseph she became know as his wife, even though they were yet to be married. If Joseph had died during this year of betrothal, Mary would have been known as 'a virgin who is a widow'. We learn from these verses and the passage in front of us, that Mary had faith in God, trusted in His goodness and accepted His plan for her life. It was not what she was expecting (!!) and would cause lots of issues for her, but she accepted God's will. She has become the best known woman in history and had the wonderful privilege of giving birth to the Messiah. It really blows your mind, doesn't it?
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