Good news comes to Mary

The Annunciation
Fra Angelico, 15th century

The story continues:  Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, with a message for a girl betrothed to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David; the girl’s name was Mary.

The angel went in and said to her, “Greetings, most favoured one!  The Lord is with you.”  But she was deeply troubled by what he said and wondered what this greeting might mean.  Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for God has been gracious to you; you shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall give him the name Jesus.  He will be great; he will bear the title “Son of the Most High”; the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David, and he will be king over Israel for ever; his reign shall never end.”

“How can this be,” said Mary, “when I have no husband?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child to be born will be called “Son of God”.  Moreover, your kinswoman Elizabeth has herself conceived a son in her old age; and she who is reputed barren is now in her sixth month, for God’s promises can never fail.”

“Here am I,” said Mary; “I am the Lord’s servant, as you have spoken, so be it.”  Then the angel left her.

Girl:  Why does this translation call Mary a “girl”? *

Thoughts: on parenting Donna Ross

Many young girls, like Mary, become pregnant before they are ready to be mothers.
What should they do?  This is the question for every pregnant girl and woman without resources; it’s also a question for the rest of us: What should we do?

Is there a way for our world to care for mothers as well as babies?
(Is there a way for our world to care for babies as well as mothers?)

The Annunciation – Dave Baldwin (Luke 1:26-38)

The angel Gabriel spoke to Mary,
“O favored one, the Lord is with you.”
The young woman was much perplexed
and pondered in her heart what to do.

Gabriel said, “Be not afraid
for you have found favor with God.
You will conceive and bear a son
and he’ll be called the son of God.”

The angel continued, “You will name
him Jesus. He’ll be called the Son
of the Most High, and the Lord will give
to him his ancestor David’s throne.

He will reign over the house of Jacob
forever—his kingdom will have no end!”
But Mary said, “How could this be
for me since I am still a virgin?”

Then Gabriel said, “The Holy Spirit
will come to you and give you a son.
Be not surprised: in her old age,
Elizabeth also conceived a son.

Remember, with God nothing is impossible.”
With a glad heart, Mary replied,
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”

* Girl

For centuries, most Bibles identified Mary as a “virgin”, based on the translators’ understanding of a prophecy in Isaiah (Look, the virgin is with child and shall bear
a son, and shall name him Immanuel…Isaiah 7:14)  

The Hebrew word translated as “virgin” here is almah, which can also mean “a young woman of marriageable age”, or “newly married woman.”

Around 200 BCE, as Greek became the language educated people were reading, Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.  In Isaiah 7:14 they translated the Hebrew word almah into the Greek word parthenos (which does mean “virgin”).  This Greek translation was the “Old Testament” used by our New Testament writers, including Luke.

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