Jesus wasn't the only surprise miracle baby of that first Christmas year.
Another couple also received a visit from an angel, announcing they would have a baby. This couple, Elisabeth and Zacharias, were old and had never had any children. They were so old, in fact, that it was almost as unbelievable as a virgin birth.
The angel said "Fear not, Zacharias". He told Zacharias to name his son John, and that the baby would be filled with the Holy spirit even before he was born.
This baby was John the Baptist. He who prepared the way with his preaching, and to whom Jesus would come to be baptised.
Elisabeth was Mary's cousin, as well as her friend, and she was six months along when Mary visited her, at the advice of the angel, to seek support for her own unexpected pregnancy.
When Mary walked into the house and Elisabeth heard her voice, baby John "leapt in her womb": in other words, the unborn baby jumped for joy when Jesus mother came in. He already knew that Jesus was near.
Two women, both with untimely pregnacies. One too young. One too old.
Two men, both faced with the unbelievable pregnacies of their ladies. One impossible, one improbable.
Let us thank God for Elisabeth and Zacharias, Mary and Joseph, that they believed the angels and rejoiced, despite their fears, in these babies: John, and Jesus.
Let us, too, believe the angels and rejoice in each baby conceived, no matter what. Fear not, for God is with you.
Luke 1 (King James Version)
7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
36 [And the angel said unto Mary] And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda;
40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.