While much has been written about the first Christmas, the retelling of the second Christmas has been a mystery, until now…
Dear Mary: I was so glad to hear from you. Zechy and I pray for you every morning, and every evening. We know God is with you…and so we know that you are safe. But we pray nonetheless. As for me, I am far too old to be a mother! But John is so sweet, and such a joy. Zechariah is like a kid when they are together; he has a spring to his step that I have not seen in years. Now he talks of having another, giving John a sister… Oy!
Jesus must be a year now. Oh, how I long to see him… to look into his eyes… and to see him in your arms. You are so beautiful, Mary, I can only imagine. I can only imagine. Hug him for me, Mary. Hold him tight.
I have thought hard on whether I should tell you this, and although it may add to the pain of being so far away, you would want to know. Your mother and father are still dealing with the aftermath of your disappearance last year. While the verbal taunting has ended, I believe, the shadow of disgrace follows them in the market… even in temple. Of course, they feel no need to explain your whereabouts; they simply trust in God… and rejoice in your joy… and your baby, your child of grace. But you can still pray for them, Mary. They need our prayers.
How is Joseph holding up? We are so glad they he is in your life… knowing you have each other is such a comfort to us. Be strong and write back soon. Love, Elizabeth.
Dearest Liz: Your words of encouragement are a blessing. In terms of adjustments, I can deal with living in a new land, being a new wife and being a new mother. But being so far from family, that is difficult.
I think in some way, though, that this time in isolation has strengthened us a family. Myself, Joseph and Jesus. We rely on one another, and we rely on God. That is all we have.
The gifts offered by those strangers from the east have sustained us this past year (oh, how God provides!) and now Joseph has been getting regular work. There is such a demand for his skills here. But no matter how hard he works during the day, he always has time to recite the Torah and Nevi'im to Jesus after supper. I think Jesus likes the stories of David best (at least that’s what Joseph says.) As for me, I have so many things to tell my son… and so many things to ask of him. I am learning more about patience every day.
Thank you for sharing the news of my parents. I fear not for them, for as they taught me to be faithful in the Lord, so too will their trust in Him be blessed. My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. Until that time when my Jesus and your John will meet, blessings to you dear cousin. Love, Mary.
… to be continued…