Annunciation and the Virgin Birth

Mary is a key figure within Christianity, but especially within Catholicism. Mary is the Mother of Christ. She agreed to God’s plan to bear his Son.

In the biblical account of the annunciation, the Angel Gabriel informs Mary that she will have a son.

Painting depicting a winged angel in white robes gesturing towards a kneeling Mary
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The angel said to her, “Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus."Luke 1:30-31

Mary is confused at this, because she is a virgin, but the angel tells her that it is by the work and power of the Holy Spirit. Mary agrees to God’s plan to carry his only Son.

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"I am the Lord's servant,” said Mary; “may it happen to me as you have said."Luke 1:38

The gospels tell us that Mary and Joseph had to travel to their hometown of Bethlehem. This was because a census had been called, and each citizen was required to return to their hometown. As a result, Bethlehem was full with no place to stay overnight. The only place to stay was a stable, and this is where Mary gave birth to the Son of God.

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She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger—there was no room for them to stay in the inn.Luke 2:7

Visiting the newborn

Both Matthew and Luke’s Gospels tell of visitors to the newborn.

In Matthew’s Gospel, the Magi come to visit the new baby. After following a star to find the child, they brought him gifts of:

  • gold
  • frankincense
  • myrrh

These gifts are a sign of holiness and royalty. They are therefore a sign that the baby is considered a king.

In Luke’s Gospel, the shepherds come to worship and praise the newborn child. The poor and humble shepherds show that Jesus came to serve and save all people from all races and backgrounds.