This chapter picks up another three months down the line, so Mary is six months pregnant and St. John the Forerunner has been born and is three months old.
Joseph returns home from where ever he has been building houses. I know some might think, 'hey, wait, how's he gone for six months? isn't he just a carpenter?' True. But keep in mind that there's no modern transportation. People walked everywhere. If they were lucky they had a donkey or a horse to ride, but most of the time they hoofed it. Settlements and cities are separated by large distances, even in small countries. Joseph had to go where there was work, and he had to walk there, stay and complete the project and then walk home. It's not so crazy when you think about it that way.
He comes back and finds Mary very, very pregnant. Joseph strikes himself in the face, dresses in sackcloth and weeps, throwing himself to the ground. He cries out, "How can I lift up my face to the Lord God? What prayer can I make about this girl? I received her as a virgin from the temple of the Lord, and I have not protected her. Who has deceived me? Who did this evil in my house, and defiled the virgin? Is not the history of Adam repeated in me? In the very house of his glory, the serpent came and found Eve alone - the same has happened to me."
Joseph blames himself for not guarding Mary well enough so that some 'snake' snuck into the 'garden'. *waggles eyebrows*
He rises and asks Mary why she has betrayed God. Why she has humiliated her soul and forgotten all that God has done for her?
Mary, weeping, swears to God that she has done no wrong. That no man has touched her.
Of course Joseph asks, basically, well then how'd *that* happen?
Mary responds that she doesn't know how it happened. She doesn't understand how the baby came to be in her womb. The author's note holds that "An element of Mary's tradition holds that she did not try to explain or justify her condition. Instead she 'kept all these things, pondering them in her heart' (Luke 2:19), keeping private her experience of a mystery that is fundamentally inexpressible."
But I was thinking. Maybe she really meant that she didn't understand how the pregnancy had happened, mechanically speaking. She knows that the angel (Gabriel) told her that she would be overshadowed and bear a child, but not in the manner of all women. And so it was. But *how*? She has no idea. All she knows it that it did not happen in the normal fashion.
Not as poetic or meaningful a thought, but I find it interesting.