Chapter One

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,

to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendent of David.

The virgin's name was Mary.

Luke 1:26-38

Mary's Inspiration to Begin this Journal

Greetings! My name is Mary and I have become the most blessed woman in the whole world. The angel Gabriel visited me and has completely altered my life. His visit has inspired me to begin a journal to record this amazing journey. How else will the world know about the events of God's son as seen through the eyes of his mother? God's son—yes, that is what the angel said. I have no idea what I will be writing in the days to come; but if the angel's words are true and I do give birth to God's son, many great things will happen because of this child.

Why did God choose me? I have struggled with this question. Are there no more worthy virgin girls for this special event that has been proclaimed by many of the prophets? Most of the girls my age are devoted to serving our Lord. I am no more virtuous than any of them. Although I try to keep my mind clean and pure, I struggle with the same thoughts as all girls my age have. There are many who are prettier, wealthier and even poorer than I am. Some have beautiful voices that sound like the nightingales when they sing. My voice may sound more like a screechy owl, but I still love to memorize and sing the Psalms of King David. I am a simple peasant girl with no unique qualities.

The only difference between me and the other girls is my ability to read and write. Fortunately, my parents believed in the importance of education for girls as well as boys. Whenever lessons were being taught in our home to my older brother, Judas, they insisted that my sister, Salome, and I also participate. Since both my parents work closely with the priests in the synagogue, they have access to the parchment and papyrus that is left from the priest's studies. They bring home every scrap piece of writing material and every extra drop of ink they can find to encourage us to write as much as we can. I love to see a written page full of beautiful words. Expressing my feelings through poetry is my favorite pastime. Like the patriarch, David, with his holy verses of praise, my love for writing is only second to my love of serving my dear Lord. It now appears I will be able to do both of my favorite things for the rest of my life. Perhaps God knew I would be compelled to record the events of his son to tell the world things that only a mother would know. That surely is one of the reasons God chose me.

When the angel appeared to me, I was so frightened I could not breathe. At thirteen, I have studied many of the scriptures and know about angels communicating with people and about God talking to people in dreams. Sarah bore a child after she was beyond childbearing years. Hannah was told of Samuel's pending birth. Oh, there are many other visions and stories of the Lord selecting someone to do His will. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever join this circle of great people. I feel blessed, but also frightened.

Early this morning I knelt by the window for my daily devotion while waiting for the sunrays to warm the chilly morning air. Suddenly a bright light burst through the window. In the midst of the light the angel appeared, and said, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." I was troubled at his saying and wondered what manner of salutation this could be. The conversation has bounced around in my mind many times until it is etched there forever. The angel continued, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."

My body froze as my mind raced. Kingdom, son of Most High—what did the words mean? Throne of David? Is my son to inherit all of David's riches? Is this truly the Messiah we have been waiting for who will recapture and restore the throne of David? My racing mind slowed enough for me to ask how this could happen since I am still a virgin.

The angel told me that the Holy Spirit will come upon me, and the power of the Most High will overshadow me. For that reason, the holy child shall be called the Son of God. Overshadow me? What does that mean? How will this come to pass and...will it hurt? He said that my cousin Elizabeth had also conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. I'm sure the angel meant to ease my fears and anxiety when he added, "For nothing will be impossible with God."

All I could say was, "Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." The angel left and I could only stare in amazement. I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. My body seemed to be frozen for hours.

What can this possibly mean to me? Remembering the scriptures I have read and heard, I know that someone is coming who will build a mighty kingdom. But will my child be this great king? How can that be possible? I am nothing—a simple peasant girl. My stomach is full of butterflies with questions. What will my dear Joseph think? I must deal with that tomorrow. This great honor brings enough worries for one day. A kingdom? My dear Lord!

Surely others will record the great events of the son of God. My son. But none will see him as I do. The views I have will be much different than those of others. For one thing, there are not many women scribes and I don't think any other person will be focusing on the events of Jesus' life as I will. Since women are not held with the same respect as men, many will think my view is not important. This story has to be an exception. Surely God chose me not only because of my devotion to him, but also because of my love for writing. He knew I would preserve these events for all generations to know the truth. I must use all my skills to record my story faithfully.

Dear God, I stand in awe at this blessing You have bestowed upon me. Thank You for the wonderful opportunity to serve You and write beautiful stories for the rest of my life. Now that I have reasoned why I may have been chosen, I beg you to help me make the most of this ability and create something that will help the entire world better understand some of the most intimate things concerning Your son. Things that at times, I must store in my heart until I am able to scribe them. Please give me the ability to recall all things as accurately as You would have the world know them. May the stories be as beautiful and blessed as I trust the journey will be. With pen in hand, I am prepared to be the vessel that will pour out the truth as only a mother can—deeply, from my heart.

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