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The First Christian was a Single Mother: Fear, Favour and Faith

By Carolyn Weber

For most of my childhood, I was raised by a single mom. When I consider my own fortunate position alongside a godly man, I have no1868223HighRes idea how she did it all. I continue to be surrounded by single moms, and remain highly sensitive to their survival situation. I am inspired by their endurance, their love, and their determination to make a better life for their children. Perhaps it has been this firsthand experience, then, that lead to my initial reaction to Mary’s own response to the preface of the Annunciation:

“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 descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:26-28).

Then Luke tells us “Mary was greatly troubled at his words …” (Lk 1:29).

I’ll say!

Luke’s detail about Joseph and Mary being merely pledged to marry, and later not consummating their marriage, provides important confirmation of a virgin birth. It is the fulfillment of prophecy along with proof of the miracle of the immaculate conception. It also conveys just what a risk Mary faced, especially in her day and age. Joseph held the right to abandon her: she would have been ostracized from the community at the very least, justifiably killed at worst. We tend to forget this threat in the school pageant re-tellings of the Christmas story.

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God’” (Lk 1:30).
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