Today is the first post for my new series entitled, Full of Grace, a ‘real-time’ story of Mary from the Immaculate Conception to the birth of Christ. As a person, Mary always intrigued me; of all the accounts, paintings, musings and what-not’s of the past two-thousand years, few have portrayed her as down-to-earth. That she had faith shouldn’t be disputed – you can’t get pregnant without sex and doubt there is a God. It’s just that sometimes we get so wrapped up in the halo’s and distant looks of piety in her eyes, we forget she was human, with hopes, dreams and even fears – just like us.
Please note, this is a first-draft work. Changes may be made during and after it’s been posted (as much as I like to think of myself as perfect, I’m not). This work is also copyrighted.
“Mary, Mary, full of grace.”
Mary blushes at her sisters’ teasing. It is something she has grown accustomed to, her sisters being younger and more immature than she, but not in this instance, with Joseph waiting to see her.
She hushes the girls, but they only make faces at her. Deciding to ignore them, Mary joins her father and Joseph outside. Her gaze on the ground below, she waits for either of them to speak.
“Hello, Mary,” Joseph says.
Mary looks up at her betrothed. He is tall, lean and muscular. His skin is tan, his hair is black and his face is covered in a close beard, unlike the full, bushy beard her father has.
“Hello, Joseph,” she manages to say, her eyes locked on his.
“Joseph was telling me how well his shop is doing,” her father, Joachim, says, smiling broadly.
“Well, my abba, my father, did the hard work in establishing it. I only follow his legacy,” Joseph replies.
“You shouldn’t be so modest,” Joachim states, patting the young man on his shoulder. “You’ve done well for yourself; for you and your imma, your mother.”
Joseph doesn’t argue, but nods his head. The moment seems to pass and silence envelopes them. Mary looks down at the ground again, wishing she could be alone with Joseph, but knowing such a thing is not possible. She has her reputation to protect: she was a virgin and would remain so until her nissuin, her marriage ceremony. Still, there are days Mary desires the end of their erusin, their betrothal, so she could go home with Joseph as his wife.
Mary clears her throat, unintentionally breaking the silence. Joachim motions to Joseph, who presents Mary with a small package.
“I’m sorry,” he says, “I brought this for you.”
Mary takes the cloth-wrapped gift and gently starts to unwrap it. Inside is a wooden bird. She runs her fingers over the intricately carved piece, marveling at the skill it took to make it and the care in Joseph’s heart for her.
“Thank you,” she says, finally looking up to him. It was tradition that the groom bring his intended gifts during the erusin, so that she might not forget him, but as Mary looks into his eyes, she knows this will not be an issue for her. She had indeed been graced and she would always be grateful to be espoused to a man as kind as Joseph.