“You’re what? What are you saying, Mary?”
That was my response when I got the text message from my sweetheart, Mary, many months ago.
I mean, can you imagine my shock as all this unfolded? I was leaving Grandpa Matthan’s house. My little cousin just had his bar-mitzvah (the coming-of-age ceremony we Jews hold, you know), and there was so much fun and laughter with the whole clan and all. I really had fun, but missed Mary terribly. She was supposed to come here with me but she had to go to her Aunt Elizabeth’s place. She took the train earlier that day. That is one relation of Mary’s I still haven’t met. The woman is really old and her baby, John, is just about six months old now and you would think she’s the grandmother. You can imagine the looks they get at the malls. But I digress.
So, that night, almost a year ago, I was on my way back, when I got the barely logical text from Mary, “Aunt Lizzy just confirmed by prophecy what Angel Gabriel said earlier. I know it’s just the first trimester but I already feel pregnant”.
My first thought was “what the #*@& (pardon my Hindu) is all that about first trimester and being pregnant?”. I was shocked, confused, and it took me a few hours for all the implications to totally sink in. Sure, I’ve known Mary for most of my life. Heck, I’ve known her for all of her life, and the conclusions did not look good on her reputation and character. I know she’s a virgin, as I am, as all godly unmarried Jews are. I also know many sons of Belial, town drunks and unrepentant Casanovas all, that have been trying to have their evil ways with her, Moses’ laws notwithstanding.
Did she… ehm… did she…?
I was in this state of flux for two whole days, with every thought imaginable (and some unimaginable) going through my mind. One thing was sure anyway; “When she comes back, Mary’s got a whole lot of explaining to do.” I know I’m still a virgin, so whose child is in her womb? When did it happen? How? Was she raped? How long gone is she? Do her parents know? I didn’t know anybody to talk to about this. I did not get any other texts from her again that weekend. I stayed home through the Sabbath, and my workshop remained closed on Sunday.
It was later on Sunday evening that I read her text again “…what Angel Gabriel said earlier”. What Angel Gabriel? She’d mentioned her”vision” to me some weeks before but how was I supposed to take that serious? When you fast as often as Mary does, you’re bound to start seeing things.
I can still see the glow on her face when she told me she’d seen a vision. She’s beautiful, I tell you. But she even looked more beautiful as her eyes lit up as we talked that day. An angel had appeared to her and promised her that her son will be king. Yea, right! I’m David’s seed but these Romans are everywhere; Herod is King of Judea, and he isn’t consulting the priests on succession. Yea, the priests are still important, and if they or the Pharisees were to hear that Mary got pregnant out of wedlock, she’d be stoned to death, as required by Moses. There’d got to be a way round this thing.
That night, I concluded I’d just have to let her go, quietly. I can’t let them stone her, and I can’t marry her. I dozed off thinking about this.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen an angel before, but I’m not kidding, they can’t get it right in Hollywood. These guys are big and shiny. They have this brilliant luster to them that it’s just difficult to describe. And wings, I don’t think they need them. How do I know?
Because I saw one. That Sunday night of course. As I dozed off, I was woken up by an angel that just simply dazzled. He said many things, but standing in front of such a heavenly being, it didn’t take much talking for me to get the message. We were to bring the wedding forward from June to first week in February. The following week, in fact. That way, the baby will definitely be known as my son, a son of David.
The wedding went very well, and it was obvious that it was the right thing to do.
Mary is almost due now, but it looks like we really have to travel (again!). The census thing, of course. But it’s a good opportunity to see Grandpa Matthan again, and my parents whom I haven’t seen since that bar-mitzvah weekend. Should the baby choose to come when we’re in Bethlehem, we’ll come back here with little Jesus then (or should we retain the Hebrew version and call him Yeshua?)