During the holidays, the story of the nativity can be heard over and over. Many churches conduct some kind of a service where the story of Mary, Joseph and their newborn son is told, complete with angels, shepherds, wise men and the occasional barn animal. It is a beautiful story of hope and forgiveness, and one that we should never tire of hearing. But there is one character in this two thousand year old story that is most intriguing. . . Mary.
Mary was, most likely, a very young girl – perhaps even as young as 14. She was engaged to Joseph in a Jewish tradition called a betrothal. During this time, while they were not yet married, they were just about as close to being married as two people could get. All that was yet-to-come was the ceremony. And the wedding night. As was customary during her time, Mary was a virgin. In fact, if Joseph believed her to not still be a virgin, he could “divorce” her before they were even married. But that had never crossed either of their minds. They were engaged, and looking forward to the rest of their lives together. Mary had her young life planned out, and it would be a life of fulfillment and happiness with Joseph.
And that’s when Mary’s plans came crashing down around her with unexpected – and certainly unplanned – news of a pregnancy. We can only guess as to the thoughts that ran through her mind. What would her parents think? Would Joseph be supportive at all? Would their life-long family friends turn their backs in disgust at her shame? It was certainly a lot to put on the shoulders of a young girl.
Sound familiar? If you find yourself during this holiday season with unexpected – and unplanned – news of a pregnancy, you very likely are going through some of the same fearful thoughts and worried heart that Mary experienced so long ago. But you know what? Mary didn’t have to face her news alone. And neither do you. You are the very reason that Advice & Aid exists. We don’t want you to be alone during this time, trying to sort through emotions and options without a friend in which to confide.
While many characteristics of this young mother-to-be are evident in this story, one stands out starkly – Mary’s bravery. How very brave she was to accept with calm dignity the unplanned in her life. Her brave choice to accept what she never imagined would happen to her is one that has impacted the course of history to this very day. Her bravery in the face of this unplanned pregnancy has impacted millions upon millions – something she could never have imagined at that moment in time.
After all, the ageless Christmas story is one in which hope – and help when it’s needed most – is found. So if you see yourself in the young, frightened girl who never expected to find herself pregnant, and whose plans were suddenly changed, know that your story is being written now, just as hers was back then. And just as Mary did, you may find a bravery in you that just very well could change the world!