How Can This Be?


Luke 1:34-37 (New International Reader’s Version)
Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.”

I can think of about a hundred questions that would have sprung to mind if I were in Mary’s position: “Why me? You do realize that I’m just starting out in life, right? Shouldn’t you choose someone with more child-rearing expertise? How am I supposed to take care of a child? What will Joseph say when he finds out I’m pregnant? What will my parents do? Shouldn’t the Son of God be raised by someone with more resources than me and my family? Will my family even acknowledge me after they find out what has happened?”

But Mary asked none of these questions, or the hundred more that may have raced around in her head. No, she asked only one deeply practical question: “How can this happen? I’m a virgin.”

The angel answered in two parts. First he told her that the Holy Spirit would make this happen: her child would be both fully human and fully divine. Then he offered her tangible proof of God’s power and faithfulness: he told her that her cousin Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant. This amazing message must truly have awed Mary, who knew the truth of the angel’s promise that “nothing is impossible with God.”

Have you ever received news that seemed too good to be true?

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1 Response to How Can This Be?

  1. Bob Oelschlager says:

    Senior year at an east coast college. Joani and I had been dating 4 months and had gotten “hot & heavy” as we used to say. I was acceptanced to a west grad school with a full tuition fellowship. “I don’t know what this means for our relationship,” I said, “but I can’t afford to pass this up.” “Well,” Joani said without missing a beat, “I wouldn’t mind spendiing some time in California.” The rest, as they say, is history. We celebrated our 38th anniversary in October. PTL.

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