You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said. (Luke 1:45 NLT)
Imagine that you are a Jewish girl in the first century. Your earliest memories are of cooking and learning Kashrut, the laws of food. There are so many Jewish laws, but you learn them by singing while you and your mother and aunts make the food at the back of your home. Your childhood is filled with work, play, and memorization. By age six you have learned your Hebrew alphabet by memorizing Psalm 119, all 176 verses of it. You are a Galilean Jew and you live in the northern farm country around the Sea of Galilee where fish and vegetables are plentiful. You are poor and have an accent that reveals this, but that does not bother you; the Roman soldiers do. Your father calls them “dogs,” and to you they are large scary “dogs.” The longest trip you have taken is to the temple in Jerusalem when you were 12 or 13. King Herod has been restoring the temple, and its beauty and size amaze you. You are distantly related to Zachariah the priest, which is a big deal, and you stay with his family while in Jerusalem. It is there that you meet an acquaintance of your father called Joseph. He is a kind man, well established as a carpenter that works with stone. You notice right away that he is strong and obviously labors in the sun. You only see him briefly, but he spends several days with your family making the arrangements with your father and brothers for events that you know are going to happen very soon. But before you can even find out what kind of husband Joseph will be, something happens.