This time thirty years plus ago, my husband and I and our two girls were anticipating the birth of a baby, who was due around Christmas. A few months prior, we learned from a sonogram that we were having a boy. There was a celebratory atmosphere – not only because it was Christmas, but because of the imminent arrival of a long-awaited son. We had both wanted a boy because my husband was the last of his line, and we already had two girls.
Because our son was born so close to Christmas and because he is our only son, I often think of Mary during the holidays. We both were waiting for the birth of our sons about the same time of year. Yet, her situation was much more miraculous than mine. It’s in comparing the experiences of our pregnancies that I stand amazed at Mary’s faith and strength and how special her pregnancy with Jesus really was.
The fact that Mary and I both excitedly anticipated the births of our sons is about the only similarity we have. At conception, my baby had roughly a 50-50 chance of being a boy. Mary had a 100% chance of having a boy because God placed His Son in her womb. She did not have sexual relations with any man. This miracle was the culmination of a promise given to Abraham stating that all nations would be blessed through his descendants. Mary’s son was that descendant through which the world is blessed.
When I was six months along, I had a sonogram announce that we would have a son. We couldn’t wait to tell everyone we were having a boy! We were so excited. But Mary had an angel visit her and announce it to her. And he told her before she even became pregnant. Can you imagine being told you are going to have God’s son? I know she had to be scared at first, and then the awe probably set in. Because she was single, she was not running around announcing it. It was kept quiet.
Mary was pregnant out of wedlock, and her baby was God’s son not her fiancée’s. God had to intervene with Joseph on her behalf. or she would have been alone and much maligned by society. Joseph stayed in the marriage contract and stood by Mary. It was a very public and difficult pregnancy from society standpoint. I would not know what that was like. I was married and had the support of my husband. I did not have to deal with shame or being maligned as Mary did.
Jesus’s conception and Mary’s pregnancy are not like any other human’s. He was conceived as fully human and fully God. His conception was announced by an angel. He was not conceived the way most humans are conceived. He was place in her womb by God Himself. His mother was a young unmarried girl who was still a virgin. There was not a lot of earthly celebration for Mary’s pregnancy. Only Heaven, Mary, Joseph and a few family members knew the truth and had great anticipation for what was about to happen. The rest of the world did not care about Mary’s baby. He was just another Jewish baby about to be born.
Today we can look at the facts and celebrate that Mary’s pregnancy was uniquely from God. That the baby about to enter the world was God’s Son through which all the world would be blessed. The Savior was about to be born!
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”