The Story of the Angel By the Altar /p2
As Zacharias heard these words, he was filled with wonder, and could hardly believe them true. He was now an old man, and his wife Elizabeth was also old; so that they could not expect to have a child. He said to the angel:
"How shall I know that your words are true, for I am an old man, and my wife is old?"
"I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God," said the angel. "And I was sent from the Lord to speak to you, and to bring you this good news. But because you did not believe my words, you shall become dumb, and shall not be able to speak, until this which I have said comes to pass."
All this time the people outside in the court were wondering why the priest stayed so long in the Temple. When at last he came out, they found that he could not speak a word; but he made signs to them, to tell them that he had seen a vision in the Temple.
After the days of his service were over, Zacharias went to his own home, which was near Hebron, a city of the priests, among the mountains in the south of Judea. When his wife Elizabeth found that God was soon to give her a child, she was very happy, and praised the Lord.
About six months after Zacharias saw the vision in the Temple, the same angel Gabriel was sent from the Lord to a city in the part of the land called Galilee, which was in the north. The city to which the angel was sent was Nazareth. There the angel found a young girl named Mary, who was a cousin to Elizabeth. Mary was soon to be married to a good man who had sprung from the line of king David, though he was not himself a king, nor a rich man. He was a carpenter, living in Nazareth, and his name was Joseph. The angel came into the room where Mary was, and said to her: "Hail, woman favored by the Lord; the Lord is with you!"
Mary was surprised at the angel's words, and wondered what they could mean. Then the angel spoke again, and said: "Do not be afraid, Mary. The Lord has given to you his favor, and has chosen you to be the mother of a son whose name shall be Jesus, which means 'salvation,' because he shall save his people from their sins. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of God; and the Lord shall give to him the throne of his father David. He shall be a king, and shall reign over the people of God forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
But Mary could not see how all this was to come to pass. And the angel said to her:
"The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High God shall be over you; and the child which you shall have shall be called holy, the Son of God."
Then the angel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was soon to have a child, through the power of the Lord. And when Mary heard all this, she said: