Joachim is chiselling a bit of wood. Anne walks in.
Anne: Joachim, stop that a minute, I’ve got some news for you.
Joachim: Good or bad?
Anne: Well…. both really. Which do you want first?
Joachim: The good news of course.
Anne: You’re going to be a grandad again.
Joachim: Brilliant! What’s the bad news?
Anne: You’re going to be a granddad again!
Joachim: What? Look, I know Salome’s already got two boys and five girls but it’ll be all right. We’re all poor but we’ll make it work.
Anne: Joachim… it’s not Salome.
Joachim: Not… what do you mean?
Anne: It’s Mary.
Joachim: Mary? Mary! What on earth are you talking about. Not our Mary, surely? How? She’s so… quiet and faithful… and young… and well, single!!! Wait a minute, you don’t mean… Joseph? Did he…
Anne: No. Not according to her.
Joachim: Then… please – don’t say it was a Roman soldier? She wasn’t molested was she?
Anne: Joachim, listen. These are strange times. You know how we’ve been crying out for something… for anything… from God.
Joachim: What’s God got to do with it?
Anne: Shush, I’m telling you. You know how we’ve longed to break free from these horrible, oppressive times, crying out for a new prophet to put in an appearance.
Joachim: I know all that! I’ve lived with it for forty years!
Anne: Well, it’s happened. Just not in the way we expected. At least that’s what Mary says, and I believe her. I do. I believe her. Like you say, she’s so quiet and devoted. And brave too. She’s always been brave.
Joachim: Correct me if I’m wrong, but you don’t get pregnant by being brave!
Anne: No you old fool. She saw an angel!
Joachim: She saw a what?
Anne: You know that old saying, ‘Nothing is impossible with God?’ You know that one? D’you believe it?
Joachim: Of course. Just so long as it doesn’t mean my youngest daughter being disgraced and pregnant and thrown out of her community. You know as well as I do Salome, people have tongues like Roman daggers. Any chance to point the finger and they will. Whatever’s happened, if Mary is pregnant as a single girl, people will ostracise her. How can that have anything to do with God?
Anne: He works in strange ways, Joachim. We all know that. Come on, let’s have some bread and wine and I’ll tell you what’s happened.