These two unlikely candidates for motherhood would remain together until after the birth of Elizabeth's son, John, who would eventually be known as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Mary's Son, Jesus.


So what's to misunderstand?


In my first article for this series, I mentioned that Mary was betrothed to a carpenter/stone mason named Joseph.  As a legally "engaged" woman (though Mary was probably no older than 13) she was to remain at home with her parents, preparing herself for the return of her bridegroom. Joseph, in turn, was back at his father's place, preparing a proper home for her.


For Mary to have taken off at such a time was bound to raise some eyebrows.


Can you imagine the tongue wagging when she returned about three months later with some rather startling news for her bridegroom?


We really don't know if Mary told Joseph the whole truth, or truth in part.  We can be sure, however, that Joseph knew the child was not his, for according to scripture, he had not been intimate with Mary. 


His initial decision to quietly divorce her tells us so much about Joseph's impeccable character.  But when the angel of the Lord came to him and told him that Mary's child was indeed the Son of God and the long-awaited Messiah, he "took Mary home" to live as his wife, but did not have relations with her UNTIL AFTER the birth of Jesus. (See Matthew 1)


Why do we think people were any different then than they are today?  Do we honestly believe that the people of Nazareth BELIEVED in the virgin birth ... or that they were even told of it?  Mary would forever be the "little girl who took off for three months and came home in the family way."


Perhaps Joseph's peers cocked an eyebrow or two when they saw him coming, or laughed behind his back.  Perhaps their relationship was forever questioned, even though they were married for at least the next 12 years, if not longer.


Lessons for Today


So, what can mom's of today learn from this fragment of Mary's story? Sometimes, as a mother, you're going to be misunderstood.  If you honestly can't think of a time when that's happened, don't worry.  It's coming. Whether by those around you, or by the very ones you gave birth to.


Allow me to give you three examples, so you'll know you're in as good of company as Mary.