Two From Galilee - pt. 1

There is a book that I pull out every December.  "Historical Fiction" is what it is classified as.  Historical in that, yes, these people did exist.  But fiction - we just don't know much about them, so an author has taken some creative liberties in writing about their day to day lives.

Two From Galilee is the story of a young man, Joseph, and a young girl, Mary....and their lives as they were chosen and touched by God for such an important moment in time.

Unlike his father, Joseph was rather sober, albeit he had a quick smile and a radiance about the eyes very pleasant to behold.  Called forward to read the Scriptures on the Sabbath, he came on a light, quick, pounding tread that seemed to stir all the girls seated in the gallery.  Even Hannah (the mother of Mary) felt his strong masculinity throughout her whole spare yet vital being.  She did not miss the little tremor that ran through them, the unconscious leaning forward.  All but Mary who sat locked in her quiet poise, betrayed only by the half-smile on her lips, the fixed and shining look in her great eyes.

He was older than Mary by some six years.  He should have long since taken a wife.  But that he'd been waiting for her daughter Hannah knew with a helpless sense of dismay and stubborn rejection.  Many times over the years he'd come by the house on unnecessary errands - to deliver a yoke that Joachim could have picked up himself, to bring an offering of his mother's fig cakes, to mend a trough.  And he invariably lingered with Mary.  Pictures plagued her: Joseph patiently picking out nutmeats and popping them in Mary's innocent mouth.  Fourteen-year-old Joseph hoisting the basket of olives to his own shoulder as she struggled up from the common orchard behind the town.  And once when unexpected clouds had sent down an avalanche he had picked her up and carried her bodily across the swirling waters.

Hannah would never forget their laughter or the look of his streaming face as he set her down on her own doorstep.  And though Mary had been scarcely eleven then and he almost eighteen, Hannah had felt a sense of dark outrage.  

"Never let such a thing happen again," she had said severely.  "What would people think?"

"That it was pouring and the streets were such a torrent that I might have been swept away and drowned."

"Swept away indeed!"  Swept away...and away...into youth and longing and dreaming and foolishness and the mistakes that were forever waiting to overtake those who imagined themselves in love.

But she had guarded Mary well.  She had made it plain in many ways not only to Joseph himself but his parents - yes, and the soft-hearted Joachim - that a match was out of the question.  They had not had the effrontery to ask.  But until Joseph had settled on another girl and the banns were announced Hannah would not rest easy.

Mary, their Mary, was meant for a finer fate than toiling and bearing children for a poor young carpenter........