Friday, December 28, 2012

The Handmaid and the Carpenter by Elizabeth Berg

In this wonderful novel about love and trust, hope and belief, Elizabeth Berg transports us to Nazareth in biblical times to reimagine the events of the classic Christmas story. We see Mary–young, strong, and inquisitive–as she first meets Joseph, a serious-minded young carpenter who is steadfastly devoted to the religious traditions of their people. The two become betrothed, but are soon faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Aided by a great and abiding love, they endure challenges to their relationship as well as threats to their lives as they come to terms with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the birth of their child, Jesus. For Mary, the pregnancy is a divine miracle and a privilege. For Joseph, it is an ongoing test not only of his courage but of his faith–in his wife as well as in his God.

My take: 3 looks
This was a good book. At first, I was a little iffy on the doctrine. After all, if you are going to write about Christ, the least you can do is study and stay true to the Bible. However, it turned out to be a nice telling of the Christmas story and made Mary and Joseph seem very real.

Unlike the other book I read on the birth of Christ, Two From Galilee, this one portrayed Joseph much more like I thought he would be at the news of Mary's pregnancy. He didn't simply take it in stride, letting it fall by the wayside because of his love for her. No, he got angry and sought to divorce her privately, as it details in the Bible.

The other touching moment of the story was a forward in time to Joseph's death. The last moments of Mary and Joseph were very touching, as she prepared her heart to raise Jesus, as well as her other children, as a newly single mother, with His fate in mind.


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