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26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26-27 NIV)
The Bible is clear to insist that Mary is a virgin and not married to Joseph yet when God sends the angel Gabriel to speak to her. The virgin birth is something that is difficult for some to accept. There have been countless articles written about it especially in theological circles. For me, it is a question of whether we believe that Jesus Christ is God who has come as a human being. If Jesus is God, then the virgin birth of Jesus Christ is part of the process in which God reveals himself as a human being. Gabriel is clear to say that the Holy Spirit will come upon Mary and she will be pregnant with Jesus.
We should also stress that Mary is not married to Joseph yet when she becomes pregnant with Jesus. In the Old Testament, a woman found to be engaged in promiscuity before the marriage could be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 22:13-21). This might be another reason why Joseph wants to divorce Mary quietly (Matthew 1:19). However, an angel appears to Joseph and he decides to continue with the marriage, thus protecting Mary from shame and possible stoning. God protected Mary through the decision of Joseph to carry on with the marriage.
The Christmas story is a story of God’s protection and providence. God has become a human being to save us from Satan’s power when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort of joy!