A Love Story of Mary and Joseph
I think Mom loaned me a copy of this book when I was in college, and I have re-read it almost every Christmas Season since. (And is this Mom's book I still have?? I guess I'm not very good at returning things!)
As a kid it was easy to hear and learn the Christmas story without much thought to the events leading up to the night in the stable. This book makes you realize that there had to be many other people affected by the events leading to that blessed night.
For example, how did Mary and Joseph come to be a couple to begin with? What did her parents think of her being "with child"? Better yet, what did Joseph think--knowing that he was not the one responsible? What did his parents think? Their town and friends?
Holmes does a nice job of creating the daily life of the times, and I don't even question God's choice of Mary. Mary's childhood faith and events leading up to the visit from the angel reaffirm that she had to have been born for this purpose. And after, Holmes imagines how the gossips would talk, how hard it would be for Joseph and Mary's parents to believe her "story," and how the events of the Bible are only a tiny part of the whole story. She imagines the torment of Joseph as events unfold. (He's often just a tiny, almost unimportant part in the Christmas story--yet his role in the life of Jesus had to have been huge.) We'll never know the entire story, but Holmes does a good job of imagining it for us. I like seeing their world as Holmes did.
There is something about this tale that I return to year after year. I think it is the "humanizing" of Mary and Joseph and in a small way, even Jesus.
The story of Jesus is the story of sacrifice, suffering, and love. And with Two From Galilee, that is also the story of Mary and Joseph.