What About the Mothers-in-Law in the Christmas Story? Part 2
Alice: Today, as I was preparing my weekly kneidlach, my wonderful, gorgeous, handsome and talented son burst through the doors with the most amazing news! My boy, oh, he could have been so much more than a carpenter-lawyer, doctor, tax collector-he's a wonderful son! Ah, but then he settled for Miriam and a small, provincial life in this one-camel town. Ah well....maybe the Grandson will amount to something.
That's what I was thinking when in walked my handsome boy with the news-Miriam's pregnant! I know I told them to have kids right away (nobody's getting any younger around here), but that was fast. Of course, I would have preferred they wait until the nuptials, but whatever. The best part...wait for it...it's a BOY! Yes! Another male figure to pin all my hopes and dreams on!
Now this one, this one we'll get right. By the way, apparently the parents have high hope for him as well...They think he'll be the MESSIAH!
Q: The fate of mothers is never simple. We watch our little ones grow and far too soon they are out of the house, making their own way, whether we approve or not. My Joseph has been the joy of my life. He’s become such a good man. Like his father, may his memory be blessed, he is kind, honest, a hard worker and a great friend of children. In fact, they all love him. And now, finally, he has found his true love - Miriam. I’ve known her from the cradle. She too is kind and loving and truly devout. She’s always the first one at our little synagogue, praying before everyone comes and staying until everyone leaves. Always bright and peaceful this dear girl. My Joseph could not have chosen a better bride.
These were my yesterday’s thoughts. Today, I cannot believe what Joseph has told me. Miriam is with child and it is not Joseph’s! What are we to do? The betrothal has been announced, Joseph is deeply in love and even believes her preposterous tale that G-d is the child’s father! He says he’s had a dream from G-d and he cannot think of putting her away - the scandal of it all.
Miriam came to us yesterday, radiant with joy, telling us that she had been visited by an angel. This was none other than Gabriel, G-d’s own messenger, who had come to announce that she is the chosen one to bear our long awaited Messiah, Israel’s deliverer and the saviour of the world whose father would be none other than the Holy One Himself! And now she is indeed with child - two moons have passed and she has not had her monthly courses. This is an impossible situation in our tiny village where everyone knows everyone and there are no secrets. My dear, sweet Joseph has decided to take her child as his own. The only scandal will be that he lay with her before the set time.
Can it be true? We have waited so long for a deliverer, for one to come and remove the reproach of our people. But this way-an ordinary village girl, already betrothed? And my son, his faith and hope are stronger than mine. I so much wished for a settled, happy life with his pure bride beside him and now, the unthinkable has happened. If it’s not true, then Miriam is out of her mind, deceived and horribly used. If it is true, no one will believe her. I’ve watched her grow into womanhood with never a reason to doubt her goodness, her faithfulness, her love.
Can I open to the wild hope that the Holy One has chosen her to bear the child of promise and chosen my Joseph to raise him? Can I believe in divine deliverance? Lord, I believe you are good and you hear my prayers. Hear now the prayer of this mother’s heart. Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.