Her hands were sweaty. She could feel her stomach quivering, her heart racing, as she knelt before the shining being before her. Favor with God? A baby? The Son of God? God, as a baby–in my womb?
The thought thrilled and terrified her all at the same time. “The Lord is with you.”
Then, like a punch in the stomach, her thoughts came back to earth, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Surely the angel must have made a mistake. She could not have a child. She was not married! She sighed. It had been a beautiful thought, it would have been nice if it were true.
But the angel’s face did not cloud in confusion. He did not turn away from her. No, instead, his face seemed to beam brighter. A full smile lit across his face as though he was expecting the question. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God…For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Goosebumps ran up her neck. The hair on her arms stood straight up. Her legs felt weak.
The sign! Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
God with us.
God with us.
God with us.
The God of Noah, that in His righteous anger, covered the entire earth with water, destroying all life but that in the tiny rescue ship.
The God of Moses, that, struck the Egyptians with plagues, delivered the children of Israel with a mighty hand and outstretched arm.
The God of Elijah, throwing fire down from heaven, consuming the offering before the prophets of Baal.
The God of the mighty warrior David.
The God that delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the flames.
The God that held the lions mouths shut for Daniel.
The God that gave Esther, the beautiful Persian queen, the courage to save her people, and protected her from harm.
That God. That God of judgment. That God of power. Strength. Majesty. Mercy. Kindness.
In her womb.
She put her hands to her stomach, her mind racing. Me? I am the virgin? Me? My son, God? The Messiah?
God is come to save us!
Jesus. That was the name the angel said to call Him. Jesus. Her Son’s name. A smile touched her lips. It was so sweet on her tongue.
A flash filled her sight. A vision knocked her. Blood running down. Cold stone. Violent quaking. The smell of fear. Sweat. Blood. The sounds of anger. Yelling, screaming, “Harlot! Adulteress!” And blackness. Death. The ache filled her chest and escalated into a raging fire. Anxiety ravaged her body.
What about Joseph, her betrothed? When he discovers that she is with child, will he believe her that the Child is God? That she is with child by the Holy Spirit? Her throat burned. Or would he order her to be stoned for adultery?
Immanuel. God with us. God with her. She was called Favored One… He would protect her. He was always faithful. Just like He was with Noah. With Moses. With David. He was with her.
Her voice quivered, felt small,
“Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”
The angel was gone.
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