“Mary, come quickly!” I heard my mother calling me. Sensing her excitement, I put down the piece of cloth that I was sewing and hurried toward the sound of her voice. Entering the other room of our house, I saw my mother standing beside my father. Both of them were beaming with pleasure.
“Mother, Father, what is it?” I asked smiling at them both.
“Your father has wonderful news, Mary!” she exclaimed.
My mother’s sweet, beautiful face looked with love at my father. He smiled at her then took my hand. “Mary, I have found you a husband,” he said proudly. “I have talked to the matchmaker, and we both feel that this man will be perfect for you!”
I admit that I was stunned. Of course, I was of the age to get married, but I had not really let myself consider the possibility of leaving my mother and my father.
“Who is he, Father?” I asked curiously.
“Joseph, the carpenter,” he replied.
My mother added, “He is a very kind man, my child. He will be very good to you.”
I nodded obediently as I thought about the man who was to be my husband. He seemed so old! My mother had begun to teach me the ways of a man and wife. I blushed as I thought about it. I quickly put that thought out of my mind, as I knew that I had at least a year of betrothal before this was expected of me.
“When will the ceremony be, Father?”
“I have talked to Joseph, and he hopes it will take place within the month,” my father explained.
There was so much to do to prepare for the ceremony, but we were betrothed in front of our family and friends three weeks later. We would now have a year to get to know each other
I found that Joseph was truly a kind and patient man. He was not a large man, but he was strong as an ox. I could not help but watch him as he carried wood into his workshop, his muscles taut from the exertion.
We laughed a lot together, too. He had an exceptional sense of humor and kept me entertained as he worked by telling me stories. One story he loved to tell was about a rich lady from the village who hired him to build some new furniture. She had gone to Jerusalem and brought back the latest designs. As he worked, however, she kept changing her mind until the end product looked exactly like the furniture she had in the first place. He would laugh his huge laugh; enjoying the story more each time he told it.
Joseph also loved God. One day, we were walking together in a field outside of the village. We stopped underneath an ancient, gnarled olive tree.
“Mary, look at this tree, how gnarled and ugly it is,” he said.
I walked up to the tree and ran my fingers down its rough bark.
Joseph continued, “But, how blessed I am that God has given me the gift to turn this wood into something of beauty. Tomorrow I will return and cut it down and haul it back to the shop. I plan to craft this tree into a beautiful table for our new home.”
Gradually I began to love this sweet, funny man. I looked forward to the time we would become man and wife.