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The Characters of Christmas: Part 1 Mary and the Angel Gabriel
Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 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.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
A Word on the Story
There are no infancy narratives in either Mark, the earliest gospel, or in John. Paul does not appear to be aware of Mary or any story of Jesus’ origins. Both Matthew and Luke have genealogies and stories of a wondrous birth of Jesus, but they have few motifs in common. Over time, as Christians have told these stories, we have conflated them. Our Christmas pageants have both shepherds and angels (from Luke’s gospel) and wise men from the east following a star (from Matthew’s). This story, which we have come to call The Annunciation, occurs only in Luke. For thousands of years The Annunciation has been depicted in art and interpreted in music, verse, literature, stained glass, architecture and film. We have created some links for you at the end of this lesson. There are countless others you can locate through Google and YouTube.
Take some time this week to crawl around in Mary’s story through other media. Enjoy!
The Characters of Christmas

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