Christmas is here!

Almost. In the spirit of Christmas, I read a Christmas book, and plan on reading at least one more.  This one is called The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berghttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=Bibliograph07-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0345505913&fc1=F3EDED&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=040404&f=ifr, and is a fictional re-telling of the story of Mary and Joseph as a love story.  The story is simple and short, but elegant and sweet.  What I love about novels like this is that they make people out of history more real than they appear in historical accounts (like the Bible).  Mary and Joseph are two people that are known to almost everyone, but if you’re like me, you don’t really think of them as people so much as names.

In Berg’s novel, she portrays Mary and Joseph as not just two people betrothed to each other by force, but as two young people who feel a very real and abiding love for each other, drawn together by God and pleased at their union.  Due to its setting, the relationships between the men and women in the story can at times get irritating, as the men are very superior and the women quite subservient. Also, I would have liked more detail and a slower plot. I felt that she touched on the points found in Scripture entirely too quickly and the novel ended too quickly.  After all, there are a lot of sensational and history-altering events in this particular part of the Bible–more space between them would have been beneficial to the overall tale.

Still, it is a lovely story.  Mary and Joseph are often forgotten in all the joy in Jesus’ birth.  I like that Berg brought attention to Joseph’s struggle and faith, and Mary’s humility and love for God.  It’s a beautiful novel to get you in the mood for the season.

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