It was the time when Caesar Augustus ruled in Rome. After many years of civil war, battles and bloodshed, he had declared the Pax Romana, and peace reigned in all the provinces of the land. In Judea, one of the provinces annexed to the Empire by Pompey, King Herod governed from his seat at Jerusalem. The Jews, resenting the Roman yoke, always believed that some day a Messiah would be born, who would restore Judea to nationhood, and give them back their independence and pride. After all, it had been written in the holy books of their forefathers. But King Herod, not a Jew himself, and loyal to Rome who had placed him in his position of power, sent his spies around Judea, to see if there was any Jewish Messiah that he had to fear.
In the little town of Nazareth, Mary, the young fiancee of Joseph the carpenter, was sitting at her window, and dreaming about her wedding, when she was suddenly startled by a bright light that appeared in front of her. As she jumped to her feet, she saw a shining being standing before her. Before she could call out or scream, the angel said to her, "Greetings, Mary. You are blessed above all women, for you have been chosen by God to be the mother of His son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and God will give to him the kingdom that was David's."
Mary was awestruck, and did not know what to say. She asked the angel, "But how can this be? I am not yet married; I have never been with any man." The angel replied, "The Holy Spirit will come to you, and you will conceive this child."
Mary was troubled about what she had heard. She did not know how she would tell Joseph, and how he would react, but believing it to be the will of God, she said, "I will do as God wishes."