Six months after announcing that John, the forerunner of the Messiah, was to be born to Zacharias and his wife, Elisabeth, the angel Gabriel was sent to Mary, a young woman who lived at Nazareth, a town in Galilee. At the time, Mary was betrothed to Joseph. Both she and Joseph were of the royal lineage of David.

In Jesus the Christ, Elder James E. Talmage wrote: "In common with other daughters of Israel, specifically those of the tribe of Judah and of known descent from David, Mary had doubtless contemplated, with holy joy and ecstasy, the coming of the Messiah through the royal line; she knew that some Jewish maiden was yet to become the mother of the Christ. Was it possible that the angel's words to her had reference to this supreme expectation and hope of the nation? She had little time to turn these things in her mind, for the angel continued: `Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.'"Even yet she comprehended but in part the import of this momentous visitation. Not in the spirit of doubt . . . but through an earnest desire for information and explanation, Mary, conscious of her unmarried status and sure of her virgin condition, asked: `How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?' The answer to her natural and simple inquiry was the announcement of a miracle such as the world had never known - not a miracle in the sense of a happening contrary to nature's law, nevertheless a miracle through the operation of higher law, such as the human mind ordinarily fails to comprehend or regard as possible. Mary was informed that she would conceive and in time bring forth a Son, of whom no mortal man would be the father: `And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' "

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Then the angel told Mary of the blessed condition of Elisabeth, Mary's older cousin who had been barren. Gabriel then added an explanation: "For with God nothing shall be impossible." Displaying submissiveness and humble acceptance, Mary replied: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

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