The planning meeting broke up and God pulled Gabriel to one side. “We’re going to need some help on this one. Not so much a pre-announcement announcement, but an announcement to warm up for the pre-announcement announcement.”
“That’s a lot of announcing,” joked back Gabriel.
“Well they’ll be someone who comes before Jesus to prepare the way on earth, but we need to soften up the ground for those who are going to give birth to Jesus and to the one who prepares the way.
“I want you to go and tell the men and the women who will bear both my Son and my messenger. But play nice Gabe, don’t freak them out too much. They’re precious souls and they need some reassurance.”
“So should I just take the one flaming sword?”
“No flaming swords, but I think you might need a couple of tricks to get Zechariah to play ball. Maybe just strike him dumb for a short while. To be honest seeing Elizabeth pregnant will be enough of a shock, I remember when we made this play with Abraham and Sarah back in the day, they took it well enough in the end.”
Gabriel started to rehearse his lines, he was also pretty stoked to be able to get back down to earth, even if he wasn’t packing and it was just for a couple of brief deliveries – it made for some variety from supervising the Heavenly Gardeners.
For Elizabeth it was the joy of bringing longed for good news, and the added bonus of some quiet relief from the infernal jabbering of her husband. He had needed some forthright persuasion just as God suggested, but silenced enforced by the hand of God made him see what was going on and the gift that God had given.
Mary. She was the stunner. Just a little slip of a girl, liable to be blown away by a misdirected wafting of Gabriel’s wings. And he did his usual ‘don’t be afraid’ routine, and for some absurd reason it worked. To be honest, he could have probably swung his swords as he entered the room and she would have greeted him with the same unnerving peace. Of course she was confused, baffled, bewildered, the whole non-sex related pregnancy is enough to set anyone wondering if mental health treatment didn’t need to rapidly advance a couple of millennia.
But Mary took it all in her petite stride. She didn’t howl and scream, she didn’t refuse the truth that was about to become her son. She turned and worshipped God.
Joseph was in a bit of a predicament, after the magnanimous actions of his betrothed he was caught either having to pretend they’d copulated already or she’d been off with another man. Or stick to the lines given him by Gabriel and become the mocking boy of Nazareth. And boy, did he man up when the time came. He stuck with her.
Gabriel headed back to his gardening duties stunned that God’s hair brained scheme might work out after all. It might not have been the way he would have done it, but God seemed to have a handle on the situation.