The night was dark and Archangel Gabriel had trouble finding the right house. He tapped gently on the door and wrapped his wings round him to keep warm. The door opened just enough to show a face.

“Who are you?” The voice was soft and nervous, “what do you want?”

He stood up proudly and unfurled his wings. “I am the messenger of God and I bring you good tidings. Can I come in?”

Mary opened the door wide and curtseyed.

“No need for that, just give me a few minutes of your time and I’ll be off.”

She noticed how bright he was and his beautiful golden hair; he seemed to cast a glow over the whole room. She watched as he floated a few inches above the ground as if to avoid soiling his winged feet on the earth floor.

He began to speak. “Oh Mary, Purest of creatures and handmaid of the Lord, I bring you tidings of great joy. Today you shall be the greatest of God’s creatures. Nations still unborn shall worship you and call you the Mother of God! I see a crown of diamonds around your head and a serpent crushed beneath your feet.”

She fell on her knees with her arms extended and looked up in adoration. For a moment, the chamber seemed full of stars, light sparks of divine spirit.

Gabriel shook his wings. “Today I tell you the Christ will be born to you, most blessed of women!”

Then he vanished and she knelt alone in the dark.

“Oh shit!” She said