Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
She met Joseph at Shabbat dinner at her home. It was a relief when her parents stopped her during morning lessons to tell her he’d be coming that next night. Her betrothed.
He feared God, fiercely cared for his family, and reminded her of her own father, whom she adores.
Every day leading up to their wedding sings wondrous excitement through her bones. In the evenings she catches herself daydreaming about her new life as she falls to sleep. Evenings by the fire, kneeling with Joseph as he prays over their family, sewing clothes for babies-to-come…
She remains kneeling at her bedside, frozen, listening.
“Rejoice, beautiful child, the Lord is with you! You are blessed among women!”
At this, Mary turns, light warming her face in the cool room.
A figure stands before her, made of flame and light and stars. She trembles, blinks, digs fingernails into fisted hands.
The figure kneels before her as if they are friends.
“Don’t be afraid, Mary. Our God loves you. You will conceive a baby and have a son. You will name Him Jesus. He will be mighty–the Son of the High God. The Lord will give Him the throne of David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will never end.”
Mary shakes her head. “How is this possible? I am a virgin.”
The face leans in, all kindness and love. “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High God will overshadow you. So your Son will be the Son of God.” At her look of fear and disbelief, the angel continued, “Even Elizabeth, your relative will have a child at her age. She is in her sixth month when she was told it was impossible. With God nothing is impossible.”
Elizabeth, her cousin, is pregnant? Mary marvels at the news, at the angelic messenger before her. Somehow, she knows it’s true.
She draws in a steadying breath and looks around her small room, her plain clothes, and tiny frame. “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be.”
In an instant she is in darkness once again, the angel gone, but her heart warm.
It was no dream.