Bonnie Alba
Two Women, Two Babes -- Mary's Treasures of her heart (Part II)
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By Bonnie Alba
December 21, 2013

God's timing is not ours. In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy, emerging from her seclusion and her devotion in thankfulness to God, God purposed what happened next.

God sent his angel Gabriel to a young virgin called Mary. She was most probably in her mid-teens, 15-17 years.

I have always been fascinated by the account of the angel Gabriel's visit to Mary. When Gabriel appeared to Mary, he said, "Greetings! You are highly favored. The Lord is with you." When Mary heard these words from the mouth of a stranger (most angel visitors were in the form of men), she was "greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be."

The words "greatly troubled" have always bothered me. I thought these words didn't carry the weight of 'fear' I would have felt at the appearance of a strange man. The Greek word used for this phrase is diatarasso which means "to agitate greatly." So we have to assume that, like Zechariah, she was startled, agitated, fearful.

Angel Gabriel saw that Mary was 'greatly agitated' and said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name 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 the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

Mary asked, "How will this be since I am a virgin?" Gabriel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."

Mary answered, "I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."

Mary got ready and hurried to visit her relative Elizabeth: "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Aloud she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished."

Both Mary and Elizabeth spoke or sang psalms/songs to God and what he had done and was doing. Their hearts must have been overflowing with joy and rejoicing. It appears that Mary remained with Elizabeth for the birth of her baby (three months) before returning home.

So it was that Elizabeth had John just as the angel said and Zechariah was able to speak again and confirm Elizabeth's telling the baby's name, John, who would later become John the Baptist and "...make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Meanwhile, Mary became pregnant and about 6 months after John's birth, she and Joseph travelled to Bethlehem to take part in the census and pay taxes. Bethlehem was crowded and they settled in a stable with animals. It was here that the baby was born, wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger. It was here that the shepherds found them and shared their own experience of a visit by angels.

Do you ever wonder what Mary was thinking about as all these things, angel visits, Zechariah, Elizabeth, birth of John, and her own baby that the angel called "the Son of the Most High"? Did she cradle her abdomen and lightly caress the baby she was carrying? Did she talk to him? Did she wonder how all this would turn out?

That is why, not once but twice, it is written that "Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart."

© Bonnie Alba

 

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Bonnie Alba

Bonnie Alba is a "politically incorrect" researcher-writer. Since 1995, her articles have appeared in California newspapers. Previously she served in various Department of Defense positions for over 16 years... (more)

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