Advent 2022 #11: Hill Country Escapades

Musically, I quite like the song Mary, Did you Know? But I think there’s a few things about it that irritate me.

The main thing being that it seems to deny the reality of prophecy. And, when I look at Mary’s song in the opening of Luke, I see that she is aware of a few things, that could only be understood if you had some prophetic or divinely inspired knowledge.

Sure, she may not have been aware of a number of things, but Mary is all too aware of several things, which we may not readily give her credit for: in particular, how she appears to Joseph. I think she’s keenly aware of that.

One thing that has stood out to me in this year’s reading of the opening of Luke, is just how dodgy the whole thing looks. Of course, knowledge of the immaculate conception is nothing new to me, but the recount of Mary’s actions stood out.

Mary is visited by the angel, Gabriel, who Sting was singing about in yesterday’s post.

Side point: Sting was my most played artist on Spotify this year.

Back to the angel, Gabriel. He tells her:

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

So the Most High will overshadow her and she will become pregnant.

Already, the whole thing is going to sound dodgy to Joseph. Who is going to believe her, including her fiancé, when she says that God has made her pregnant? It’s scandalous and unbelievable. But then the text goes on…

“At that time, Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea“.

I don’t know exactly when “at that time” was, but it seems to be pretty quickly after the angel has left Mary. So, it appears that Mary’s pregnancy would not have been known about by anyone in her village before she heads off to the hill country, for the purpose of meeting with her relative, Elizabeth.

Mary, we are also told, stays with Elizabeth for ‘about three months’.

I don’t know exactly when the ‘Most High overshadowed’ Mary, but I doubt there was much of a delay after Gabriel left.

How dodgy does that look! No baby bump on the way to the hill country. Coming back from the hill country’s a different story though. Mary, what happened when you went out of town? And just why did you go so quickly?

Poor Mary. Poor Joseph. It’s a disaster.

But God is in it, and Mary is highly favoured. That changes everything.

Yours in finding favour,

Alison

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