In the gospel of Luke, the Christmas story starts before Jesus’ birth. About nine months before Mary gives birth to Jesus, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Mary is a young godly girl who has never been married or been with a man. But she’s betrothed, or what we can call engaged, to a carpenter named Joseph. But when this angel shows up, her life changes. The angel Gabriel greets Mary, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Mary of course is troubled by this supernatural visitation. What has she done to deserve God showing up to her? I know I would have felt scared if an angel showed up with a message from God for me. So here we have a young soon-to-be-married woman who has found favor with God. This is the background of the very first Christmas.