The Story of the Nativity of the Mother of God

The Birth of the All-holy Virgin Mary. In the birth of the All-holy Virgin Mary we have the beginning of the the sacred history of the New Testament, the history of our salvation. It was the preparation for the incarnation of the Son of God, the advent of God in the flesh. Thereby that human nature, which was to receive God Himself, is made ready, that the race of man might be saved. This human nature had to be made worthy of God, had to be holy and immaculate; it needed a holy origin, upbringing and development. Her being chosen of God rests in the fact that she of all mankind must needs give to God reciprocally the common nature of mankind.

The time of the Virgin's birth is the time of the awaiting of the coming of the Messiah, Christ. Her parents are Joachim and Anna; he was of the kingly, and she of the high priestly, lineage. The spouses, well advanced in age did not have any children. This was regarded as a disgrace among the people, and for this reason they were considered as deprived of God's blessing.

In abasement and humility they desired a child, as a mercy from God and to take away their disgrace and reproach among the people. In this way, humility, prayer and the holy promise to dedicate their child to God for service in the Temple were the spiritual prerequisite of its birth. And God heard them, and to them there was born a daughter, whom they called Mary. The name Mary is a translation from the Hebrew and it signifies: high, exalted over all.

The Mother of the Lord was in actuality born of pious parents, and indeed could only be the fruition of their spiritual endeavour, their heartfelt striving, and their tearful prayers to God. A spiritual existence could only be the fruit of the spirit, initiated not only according to the natural, blind inclinations of the flesh and the natural laws of the requirements of the nature of the flesh, but according to the aspirations of the spirit and through the action of the special mercy and grace of God for people, who were already elderly and whose flesh was withering, but who were living according to the spirit. If the origin be holy, so shall the whole, and if the root be holy, so are the branches (Rom 11:16). From a holy root there came forth a holy fruit.

An example of a promise with reference to a future child is given by the barren Hannah [Anna], the mother of the holy Prophet Samuel. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of Sabaoth! if Thou wilt indeed look upon the affliction of Thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thine handmaid, but wilt give unto Thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life... (1 Kings [Samuel] 1:10-11). Joachim and Anna also followed the example of the parents of the righteous Samuel.

The mother of the Saviour, a King according to His earthly descent and according to His eternal ministry, and High Priest of the future good things, naturally, had in herself to compass the two lines of descent, the royal and high priestly, in her people. By her father she was of the tribe of Judah and the house of David, and through her mother she was of the tribe of Levi and the house of Aaron. Although Christ came forth from a mother alone without a father, and Joseph was only the betrothed husband of Mary, the protector and guardian of her virginity and only the nominal father of the Saviour, yet the Saviour was not simply nominally of the royal house, but was in reality, through his mother and according to the flesh, of this house, of which in the person of David it had been said of the Lord, thy throne shall be established unto the ages (2 Kings [Samuel] 7:16). This throne could not be disestablished, and Mary actually was herself actually descended from the house of David that she might be the mother of the Lord.

Source: http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/veneration_mary.aspx