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Mary’s Unplanned Pregnancy

Second grader Stephanie came home from school and told her mother, "Mom, today at school we learned how to make babies." Mother tried to stifle her shock and keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said carefully. "How do you make babies?" Stephanie replied, "It's simple. You just change 'y' to `i & add 'es.' " Matthew 1:18 hints at the "simple" way babies come to be but also announces the profound, one-of-a-kind conception of the most special Baby in the history of Planet Earth. With breathtaking words Matthew writes: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." Matthew is clear Mary "was found with child." That Bible phrase simply means Mary was pregnant. The unborn baby growing in her womb is described by the inspired writer's words as a child before it was born , not a choice for the pregnant woman and her doctor to make. Billions of women have been "with child." But what is absolutely unique and mind-bending about Mary's pregnancy is that "she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." She was pregnant "before they [Mary and her fiancÚ Joseph) came together." Bank on this — Mary's pregnancy was totally unplanned and unexpected to her and Joseph! Joseph was "minded to put her away" (1:19b), as almost any man would do if he discovered his fiancÚ was pregnant and knew he could not possibly be the father. Joseph was ready to end the engagement and call off the wedding.  Until, that is, the Lord informed him of the special and miraculous nature of Mary's pregnancy and that "that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit" (1:20b). Luke 1:34 records Mary's initial reaction upon learning she was pregnant: "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" or "How will this be, since I am a virgin?" (English Standard Version) Wow! Mary was pregnant before she was married, pregnant but not by the man she was planning to marry, and her pregnancy was unplanned and unexpected!

Now, consider an important point. Mary's pregnancy was, like many pregnancies today, "unplanned" by her and Joseph. But the source of their surprise and shock was not because they had been "thoughtful" and "careful" and had used "protection" in their sexual relations yet ended up pregnant in spite of all that. And Mary's pregnancy was certainly not because they engaged in a casual and pre-marital and immoral sexual relationship, as is often the case in our culture today when someone is heard lamenting an "unplanned" pregnancy and "unwanted" baby. Mary and Joseph's surprise sprung precisely from the fact she was pregnant before they were married and in spite of the fact she and Joseph had not engaged in any kind of sexual contact whatsoever with each other or anybody else. Mary — a virgin, and pregnant! One can be forgiven for wondering what counsel this poor, young, unmarried pregnant woman might have received if modern day proponents of "a woman's right to choose" and "women's reproductive rights and freedoms" could have advised her? The wonder and glory of it all is that God planned Mary's unplanned pregnancy long before it came to be (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23; Galatians 4:4)! The Baby born to the virgin Mary was sent by God to save the world. Thank God for Mary's unplanned pregnancy!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ