Just a few questions from a puzzled mind.
Granted, I’m working with a fairly basic document that takes broad strokes. It’s all inspired, no doubt, and I dare not read between the lines too much. If you’d be so kind as to let me vent my inquisitive frustration, I’d surely appreciate it. Once I get these moths of confusion out of my head, I’ll just go on my merry way. Ha! Get it? Merry way?? You know what? Ignore that. Now — if I may:
What were you doing when Gabriel showed up? You must’ve been in a calm mood, because there’s no sign that you freaked out. If an angel appeared in my kitchen between my pouring of the coffee grounds and adding water, saying “Greetings, you who are highly (or moderately) favored!” I would have instinctively punched him in his angely face and then asked who he was. But you… you weren’t surprised at all. Chill sista. So I’m wondering if you realized he was an angel. Maybe it was as routine as a meter reading or a plate of cookies from the neighbor, both examples of moments not to freak out. Was Gabriel in disguise? Were you, as the old saying goes, entertaining angels unaware?
When Gabriel said “the Lord is with you?”, what did that mean to your ears? We throw that phrase around like it’s as common as a Walgreens pharmacy. Historically speaking, yous guys didn’t have Emmanuel like we do (nor did you have pharmacies, which explains the lower life expectancy).
Though you weren’t surprised, your face must’ve communicated trouble — what were you afraid of? Was it holy terror? Was it that “favored” people always end up paying a high price to obey God? Were you afraid that you were going to die? Did an angel wing pop out from under the trench coat?
I noticed that Gabriel gave you a big rundown of the baby, the eternal nature of the throne, the fact that He is the Son of God, and even a name assignment, yet your biggest concern is the conception. I guess that’s not a question as much as it is a happy observation of your humanity. Truly. If someone said to me “You’re going to Chicago for 5 nights and will see all the sites and meet a bunch of people and eat a bunch of pizza”, my first thought would be about the practicality of the schedule and whether or not I will be rolling my clothes into cylinders for easy travel. The rest comes later, but I need to make sure I have the time and resource to play along with this magical journey. You too, it seems.
When the angel talked about the Holy Spirit, what crossed your mind? The greek there is hagios pneuma. You might have heard it as ruach or something. Did you make the connection to the creation story, the history of Moses, or something you had heard from a rabbi? Was it odd to think of the Spirit of God as being part of this? Were you as confused as we are, when we really think about this and all it means? I hope so.
Did you feel cheated? I would guess that you and Joseph probably plotted the rest of your happy family life. I would also guess that you didn’t plan on a miraculous pregnancy that didn’t involve Joseph. Though he’s clearly a key part of this (from the line of David), did you or he feel like you were going to miss out on a traditional baby experience? Kudos to you both, by the way, for being so great about it.
Do you think our modern familiarity with this ancient story create an obstruction? I know this is a rather leading question, but we talk about this story every year and even put up manger scenes with often creepy and internally lit mannequins. Sometimes we know it so well that we don’t listen. Since you were there and all, I just wonder what layers need to be removed from my heart in order to hear this story and be moved? Oh. I suppose that’s the job of the Holy Spirit, right? Right.
When you felt the first kick, did your faith deepen? In other words, did you feel Jesus move and think “this just got real?”
Lastly: when the angel left, did he say “bye!” or just walk away? Seems like a silly point, but I guess I still can’t get over the fact that you weren’t screaming and hitting him with a frying pan or something. Oh – I was also wondering if you felt like God was with you. I bet you appreciate the irony of God being so close that He’s literally in your womb, right? I mean, I do. I guess.
Thanks, Mary. We’ll talk more about this on Sunday. By the way — I wasn’t praying to you or anything. Just asking an historical figure a bunch of questions that they can’t answer, like when I ask Abraham Lincoln where he got that cool hat. He has yet to return an answer, and I expect just as much from you.