Tuesday, December 13, 2005
So Then I Said ..........
........... "No wonder she's a fuckin' saint."

I'd been perusing my advent calender, one that tells the story of the birth of Jesus. I kinda got hung up, as I often do, on the story from Mary's perspective.

So she's what? 14? I heard that, that if she was engaged to be married in that day and age, she was prolly about 14.
Now, because I work with kids that age, I KNOW 14 year old girls. You live in 72 hours. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. Therefore it's easy to destroy your world, and rumors are the fastest way to do it.

So she's engaged. She's prolly happy about it, Joseph comes off as a decent guy. But that's a lot of change headed her way.
Then an angel appears and rocks her world, her life as she knew it, her life as she expected it to be and even her knowledge of science. Luke 1:26-38 describes her as progressing from 'greatly troubled' to an acceptance that in modern english would prolly have been, "Er. Ok, then."

Mind you, the angel appears to Mary and Joseph. Thats it. The angel doesn't hold a press conference, doesn't have a publicist issue a statement asking everyone to "respect the couple's privacy at this time." The angel doesn't even include Mary's parents on the good news.

So now Mary has to go and explain this to everyone. Can't we just imagine how that news was recieved? Her mother cries, asked how this happened, cancels the wine order for the wedding. Her father keeps pressing her to tell him who did this to her, so he can have him stoned. Her friends cock an eyebrow and prolly keep their suspicious to themselves, at least until she's out of the room. They prolly advise her to come up with a better story and fast. That one bitchy girl that's in every girl's extended social circle makes no secret of the fact that she 'suspected it all along.' Aunts sigh deeply, uncles wag their heads. Neighbors get 'really busy' when she passes by.
At first her engagement/future is up in the air, but when Joseph says he still intends to marry her, it prolly just sets off a fresh round of gossip.

I always wondered if that's why she went to her cousin Elizabeth's house. Elizabeth, who was no stranger to controversy and was in seclusion over her own pregnancy, must have been a welcome ally. Elizabeth greets her in a way that lets Mary know she knows the truth and seems to set her at ease, as she sings out that God does amazing things and that she's honored that's He's choosen her to work through.

After three months she leaves her cousin's house and returns home.

For roughly the next six months she lives amoung the family and neighbors that were perhaps not so supportive. Sixth months in a small town, with swollen ankles and a promise from Joseph that he'll marry her. He hasn't yet, for whatever reason.

Then a long ride on a donkey. Hugely pregnant. Worried about getting there. Worried about what to do when they get there. Worried about the delivery.

So Joseph, it sounds like he really tries, can only find a barn for them to stay in.

Mary's maybe 15 years old by now. Far from home. In a barn. No mother, no older sisters, no Elizabeth. Giving birth to her first child. With Joseph, who's experience in childbirth is what, exactly? Watching the family cow give birth when he was 8 or something?

So she's prolly exhausted from labor with no drugs, and she snuggles her son down into the manger, so that she can lie down. Instead she's interrupted with shepherds, who bring wonder and awe and the sense that forces have been moving from far away. Rather disquieting when you want to rest.
Fleeing for her life shortly after is only the beginning of strange events that disrupt her life, culminating in watching her son die a cruel death.

I say she was made of some pretty tough stuff.


Blogger melissa.in.london said...

Most definately an interesting take!! Have you ever seen the movie Saved? It's quite funny. One of the lines talks about how ingenious it was of her to use the excuse of immaculate conception--no one ever had before nor ever could again.

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