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The Christmas Story, cont'd

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And then the angel told her that her cousin Elisabeth was to have a baby. Now that really amazed Mary because Elisabeth was already sixty years old, but it also gave her some reassurance that this was indeed the will of God. If he could make sixty-year-old Elisabeth have a child, maybe it was true that she herself could have this child of God while yet a virgin. So, she told her family that she wanted to visit her cousin and set off for Elisabeth's house.

When Elisabeth saw Mary, the child in her womb leapt, and Elisabeth realized that Mary was even more blessed than she was. Mary stayed with Elisabeth for three months to help her with the birth of her baby, John. However, she knew she could not stay away from home indefinitely, and that she would have to break the news to Joseph, so she bade Elisabeth farewell and set off for Nazareth.

When he heard Mary's story, the young carpenter was upset and confused. He didn't know what to make of it, and didn't know whom he could talk to about it. But, that night the angel also appeared to Joseph in a dream, and told him that he should take Mary as his wife, and that the child she was carrying was the Son of God. Joseph still didn't know what he would say to his family, but he resolved that he would marry Mary as soon as he could.

Before they could make plans for the wedding, however, there came a decree from the emperor Caesar Augustus that a census was to be carried out and that all people should go to their hometown to be counted. Since Joseph was of the lineage and family of David, he had to go to Bethlehem, about 70 miles away from Nazareth. Since Mary was already visibly pregnant and close to her term, he decided to take her with him, rather than leave her in Nazareth where she might be mocked or harassed by the townspeople.

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Last updated: April 2010.
Story copyright © Serena Jacob 2003. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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