The girl who found favor

There she was, a girl of about 12 or 13, but mature beyond modern standards of the preteen girl. Perhaps she was ready for marriage, perhaps not, but either way, at her tender age she was promised to a man who, although he was a good man, was likely much older than her. She wanted children someday, yes, but perhaps in a few years when she and her husband had settled into their lives together. He was a carpenter, so he wasn’t exactly the richest man in the world, but he would take care of her and give her the kind of life that would be comfortable, and she was content with that.

Then one day, as this young girl was going about her day—perhaps daydreaming about her future with her fiancé or quietly humming a song as she took on her chores—someone appeared, out of thin air, and told her something that would forever change the course of her life.

He approached her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

Favored one? The girl was surprised, even troubled, by the strange occurrence. Who was this being? If he carried a message from God, perhaps he was an angel. But what could this mean for the girl, whose simple life was already mapped out for her? She knew what the plan was and she was ready to be an obedient daughter and start the life her parents and fiancé had arranged for her.

The angel told her not to be afraid. And then he gave her the news, and it was news that would have made any reasonable person very afraid—afraid of what the world would think, what her parents would think, what her fiancé would do. By law, he could have her stoned to death.

But the thing about people with whom God finds favor is that they aren’t generally particularly reasonable people.

No reasonable person would step out onto the sea in hopes of not drowning.

And no reasonable 13-year-old girl would believe that the Holy Spirit would allow her to conceive, as a virgin, the Son of God—savior of the world—in her very womb.

A reasonable person would see the complete impossibility of this. Even if she could accept that God would somehow do this supernaturally, she would be horrified at the prospect of becoming pregnant before being married in a society that would not look kindly upon her for it—in a world where her fiancé could have her killed for such an act.

But this girl knew. Perhaps it was the look on the angel’s face that comforted her and made her realize the sincerity of his words. Perhaps all it took was the mention of the power of God that sparked something in her heart and removed the doubt and fear from her eyes. Perhaps she simply had a faith so big and a love for God so strong that she just knew, deep within her soul, that these words were true, and what was said would come to pass.

She didn’t know how her fiancé would react. The angel didn’t give her exacts. He didn’t tell her that, as a good and righteous man, her fiancé would first consider divorcing her quietly to avoid shaming her and endangering her life, and that he would then be let in on the divine secret and would believe it and take her as his wife even after she became pregnant. He only told her, “Nothing will be impossible for God.” And she believed.

If it were a simpler story, it would not be the most incredible one ever told. If the circumstances were easier to explain and the kingship of the child of God could be evidenced by a royal and extravagant birth to a woman of nobility and renown, it would not be the story of God doing the impossible. If the story didn’t hinge on the faith of a girl barely old enough to bear a child, it wouldn’t be the most miraculous event in history. But it does, and it is, and because of that, the world was forever changed.

Merry Christmas from The Daily Runner.