This step that Mary was asked to take - it was no easy thing. She no doubt had some sort of vision for how her life should progress - marriage, children, an active member of the community. And this angel-visit put all of it at grave risk. It must have been no easy thing.
Imagine her conversation with her parents and family. “Hey, I’ve got to tell you some difficult news, but it’s not what you think.” The disappointment would be matched by the outrage of actually trying to “deify” her immoral actions. “How dare you blame God for what you have done?” I just don’t believe that family members would swallow her far-fetched explanation.
And then there is Joseph. Who would expect him to stick around? His proximity to her situation could only be condemning for himself. He was considering what to do, and it did not involve a future with this young woman. Now another angelic visit stopped him in his tracks. Amazingly, he was willing to embrace Mary as his wife, choosing to act according to the angel’s message over against public opinion. But, when Mary offered her testimony of submission to the will of God, she could not have known at that point how Joseph would respond. But she could have guessed. And so her step of faith was no easy thing.
And then there is public opinion. I don’t know how long it took her first family to come around. They might have changed their minds when they heard the testimony of shepherds or wise men, or watched this unusual young man grow up, sinless and all. But maybe not until thirty years later, which might not have come before Mary’s parents died. But then, how long did the public hold against her what they must have believed about her - that she, and Joseph, were fornicators, and liars? Some would have changed their minds when they believed. But others never believed; nor would they have ceased to condemn.
We know that the story turns out all right in the end. The story always turns out well for those willing to submit to the will of God, in the end. But it is getting to the end that is so difficult. It may involve months, or years, or a lifetime of being different, of suffering disavowals, or enduring condemnation, or experiencing persecution. And that does not apply only to Mary. It applies, in some measure, to every follower of Jesus. Paul says to Timothy “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” It is no easy thing. But, it is worth it in the end.