For the past several years, I've reflected during the Christmas season on what The Annunciation says about women, self-determination, and pregnancy. I've read the story many times - basically an angel comes to Mary to tell her that God chose her to give birth to His son, then the angel gives her some time to think about it, and Mary agrees to do it. There's nothing in there about anyone being forced to give birth to a child that she did not plan for. What's beautiful about the story is that Mary voluntarily says yes, risking serious social ostracizing and other problems.
Growing up in the Jewish faith, Christmas always fascinated me in many ways. Not only did I view images of Santa Claus and prancing reindeer bringing gifts to happy children, but more serious (and to me, mysterious) displays included a family in a barn, celebrating the birth of a miracle child. As I aged and learned more about the Biblical circumstances that led to the birth of Jesus, I became more confused than ever. How did this story translate to policies that seemed to govern my life? For clarity, I set out to read more about the Annunciation.
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