Monday 12th December 2022
It’s that time of year when people start to ask whether or not the Virgin birth was real and some Christians become incredibly offended at the suggestion that it might not be.
Cards on the table, I believe in a mighty and omnipotent God, I see no reason why God couldn’t make a virgin pregnant so I see no reason not to believe it. That said, I also believe in an almighty God who could enter the world and fulfil their plans without the need for Mary to be a virgin. I recognise that there’s some dispute over the translation so I see no reason for it to be a make-or-break doctrine. I don’t know if Mary was a virgin, and frankly I don’t care.
Mary would have been very young when she found out she was pregnant with the most important baby ever born, girls were married as young teenagers in those days and as Mary was still betrothed she would be unlikely to have been any older than 16. At 16 I was mostly concerned with acquiring a fake ID, shopping for clothes, and boys. I cannot imagine how terrifying it must have been at such a tender age to find out that such a weighty responsibility had been given to her. When the angel Gabriel told her she had found favour in God’s eyes he really must have meant it, how much strength of character must this young woman have possessed for God to trust her with the enormity of the task of carrying and raising Jesus?
Not only that, but Mary had the choice to get out of the whole thing. God doesn’t force his will upon us, Mary could have said “no.” Verse 38 of Luke 1 shows Mary making an active choice to bear Jesus “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Mary knew what was coming, she knew she would be considered a fornicator, she could only imagine the reaction of Joseph when she told him she was pregnant, she faced the very real possibility of being a destitute single mother, yet she was still brave and faithful enough to say yes.
In fact, she even sang a song of worship, a song that still echoes today, calling for God to bring down the powerful and raise up the marginalised. If only Christians would pay more attention to her revolutionary words crying out for justice than to whether or not her hymen was intact
Her introduction to motherhood didn’t start out easy, riding miles and miles whilst heavily pregnant, on a donkey, in the cold harsh elements, then giving birth in the room reserved for the animals, no midwives or epidurals for this mum! She then faced the reality that one of the most powerful men around wanted to kill her child and became a refugee. As Jesus grew up she never lost any confidence or faith in him, this was the boy whose bottom she had wiped, whose tears she had dried, who she had taught to walk and talk and even how to hold a spoon, but she humbly became his follower, she humbly trusted her son, now her Lord. As most of the rest of his followers cowered in a locked room, his mum stood and watched as her little boy was executed in the most horrific way. I cannot imagine the pain this must have caused her, did it break her? We don’t know, we hear very little of Mary after this.
This woman was remarkable, she must have possessed such faith, such strength. The bravery she demonstrates at both the beginning and end of Jesus’ earthly life is astonishing, and the hardships and difficulties she lived through would break the vast majority of us. And what are Christians focused on? Her sex life!