Happy Christmas Adam to you all! (tomorrow is Christmas Eve, so today is Christmas Adam. Get it? :D) Tis now only 2 days till Christmas! :O Today I’m going to be busy with finishing up some last bits of school work (It’s ever so much fun. #sarcasmalert) as well as going for our traditional Christmas Eve/Adam ice skating! So I’m putting this blog post up a tad earlier than normal, so as to have it off my agenda for the rest of the day. I hope you enjoy this fourth part of He Found Favour in Her! Click here to read Part 3: The Visit.
Mary pulled her shawl tightly around her, and quickened her steps. Her heavy basket dragged on her arm as she walked through the crowded market. A barrage of cold stares and accusing eyes met her at every corner. Women whispered behind their hands, and Mary knew what they were saying.
“There she goes….”
“I never thought she would do that kind of thing.”
“Did they ever find out who the father was? It couldn’t have been Joseph, even if he is still marrying her. He’s too righteous for that.”
“Yes, he’s just trying to protect her.”
Old women wagged their heads with scorn, mothers ‘tut-tutted’ and young women eyed her with disdain. And the men? They just ignored her.
I am a stranger in the village that I’ve lived in my whole life. All because of the child I’m carrying. Why God? Why must this happen? Head bowed, eyes bright with unshed tears, Mary hurried along, her feet stirring up clouds of dust on the dirt street.
A voice broke into her thoughts, little feet pitter-pattered behind her, and a chubby hand grabbed at her robe. Mary turned to see a curly headed tot grinning up at her.
“Why Tamar! How nice to see you! And how are you today?” Mary blinked back her tears and crouched down awkwardly in front of the child, hampered by her growing bump and large basket.
“I’m good. I’m at the mawket!” Tamar lisped.
“Why yes you are! And who are you with?” Mary grinned at the little girl’s speech.
“With Mama and baby Wueben. I’m a big girl.” Tamar stood straight and puffed out her chest, delight sparkling in her dark eyes.
“Yes, you are now! But where is your Mama?” Mary questioned Tamar.
“I dunno. Are you having a baby?” The tot put out her chubby hand and stroked Mary’s bump.
“Yes, I am.” Mary smiled at the tot’s innocent question.
“Tamar! Tamar!” A young woman with panic written on her face rushed up, a baby and a loaded basket filling her arms.
“Don’t you ever run away from Mama like that! You could have got trampled by an animal or lost! Or even worse….” Her voice trailed off as she saw Mary.
“Why hello, Susannah!” Mary straightened up and greeted the woman. Surely Susannah won’t be like the others. She was my closest childhood friend!
“Oh, hello Mary.” Susannah replied slowly.
“How are you?” smiled Mary. “I haven’t seen you in a while. Rueben is getting bigger!”
“Yes, he is.” Susannah responded shortly.
“Mama, Mama, Maywy is having a baby!” Tamar piped up.
“Yes, well… We need to go Tamar. Right now.”
“But why?” Tamar whined.
“Because.” Juggling the baby and basket in her arms, Susannah reached out a hand and grabbed Tamar.
“Susannah! Couldn’t you stay and talk a minute?” asked Mary.
“No.” Susannah replied, face stony.
“Susannah, please…” Mary pleaded.
“I’m sorry.” And with that, Susannah and her children walked away.
Mary stood stunned in the street, unaware of the bustling market around her. She just left. She turned her back and left. She’s been my best friend since I was 5 and now she’s rejected me – just like everyone else. Because I’m pregnant!
“Why God, why!?” An anguished moan passed her lips and salty tears wound their way down her cheeks. Why me? Didn’t you know that this child would cause me to become an outcast, an object of shame?
“Mary.” A hand came round from behind her and gently took her basket away. Mary spun around to face the one person she knew would understand. Joseph. “Are you alright?” he gently asked, his kind face wrinkling in concern.
“N-no, I’m not.” Mary struggled to keep the sobs in check that welled up from deep inside.
“Come, let’s walk.” Joseph took her small hand in his work-roughened one, and they walked down the street.
“I’m trying so hard to trust God. I really am.” Words tumbled out from Mary’s lips. “But it’s so hard! I’m- I’m an outcast among the people I’ve lived with my whole life. They don’t believe me when I tell them the truth. Even my own parents don’t believe me! Not that I really expected them too – it’s such a crazy story. But surely they could show some more compassion. You’re the only one who really understands…”
She swallowed another sob and turned her anguished face up to Joseph. His eyes were soft, and she could see her pain mirrored in his face.
“I know.” Joseph murmured. “I feel the sting of the whispers and looks too. It’s hard.” He stopped and turned to face her, gripping her shoulders. “But Mary, God chose you. He found favour in you. And he’s included both of us in his plan. I don’t understand it all. But I do know that he knows what he is doing. We just need to trust him. People will soften and forget. Eventually. We need to be strong and trust the Lord. We will bear this together.”
Mary sighed, and gave a watery smile. “You are right. We will bear this together.”
What do you have planned for today? Anything Christmas-y like ice skating? Let me know in the comments below! 🙂