Greetings! Thanks for stopping on by to check out my blog. I’ve posted the next part of Full of Grace. The story is moving along smoothly. If you’ve just joined us, you can click here to read it from the beginning. Enjoy!

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Standing beside Joseph under the chuppah, the wedding canopy, Mary’s stomach flutters, much like it did early in her pregnancy. There is no nausea this time, though; only nervousness, happiness, contentment and excitement rolled into one. Not even Joseph’s mother’s hard expression is enough to change her countenance.

Mary looks around as the rabbi reads from the ketubah, detailing Joseph’s legal obligations to her. She notes how different this ceremony is from the first one – her erusin. Then, they were joined by her family and neighbors to celebrate the engagement. Now, it was only her family, Joseph’s mother and apprentice, Silas, who would serve as the necessary witnesses along with his family. It seems meager, celebration, but viewing the pride on her parent’s faces is enough to lift Mary’s heart and remind her that this event is more than tradition. She and Joseph had chosen by G-d for a grander purpose and didn’t need the fanfare that normally came with it.

With cup of wine in hand, the rabbi begins reciting the Sheva Berakhot, the seven blessings.

“Praised are you, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.

“Praised are you, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who created all things for your glory.

“Praised are you, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, creator of man.

“Praised are you, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who created man and woman in your image, fashioning woman from man as his mate, that together they might perpetuate life. Praised are you, O Lord, creator of man.

“May Zion rejoice as her children are restored to her in joy. Praised are you, O Lord, who causes Zion to rejoice at her children’s return.

“Grant perfect joy to these loving companions, as you did to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden. Praised are you, O Lord, who grants the joy of bride and groom.

“Praised are you, O Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who created joy and gladness, bride and groom, mirth, song, delight and rejoicing, love and harmony, peace and companionship. O Lord our G-d, may there ever be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem voices of joy and gladness, voices of bride and groom, the jubilant voices of those joined in marriage under the bridal canopy, the voices of young people feasting and singing. Praised are you, O Lord, who causes the groom to rejoice with his bride.”

Still holding the cup aloft, he bids Joseph to drink. Mary watches as he takes the cup from the teacher and obeys. When he is done, he passes the cup to her and she drinks as well, finishing the wine before returning it to the rabbi. With a broad smile across his face, he takes the cup back and declares them one flesh, amidst the cheering of her family and Silas’.

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