“She’s a pretty little thing,” Eve said as she watched the young woman.
“She looks so tired,” Sarah commented.
The girl’s pale face and heavy-lidded eyes undershadowed by dark circles clearly reinforced the statement.
“It’s almost her time,” Rebecca said. “Goodness knows I was tired before I had Jacob and this poor girl’s had to travel so far.”
Leah shook her head, “I don’t know how she’s done it.”
“A woman does what she has to,” Tamar answered.
“You’re one to talk,” Sarah retorted without thought.
Tamar sighed. “And I suppose you never made a mistake.”
Sarah made no reply.
“We’ve all made mistakes,” Rahab said. “But none of that matters now.”
“Especially now,” Ruth answered.
“I’ve waited so long for this day,” Eve said in wonder-filled tones. “I can’t believe it’s finally here.”
Bathsheba looked at the girl compassionately. “It’s too bad about her family, though. They all think she’s been immoral. Her reputation’s been tarnished. I know how hard it is to have people think that about you, to have them look at you that way, to shun you and talk behind your back.”
“Except she didn’t do anything to deserve it,” Leah replied.
Bathsheba looked hurt and turned away.
“I’m sorry,” Leah answered. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
Bathsheba’s face took on a peaceful countenance and she smiled. “It doesn’t matter. None of that matters now.”
“Especially now,” Naamah said and they all turned to watch as the girl and her husband stopped outside the door of an inn.
“What amazes me is how the Lord has used us, all of us, to make this happen,” Rahab said.
Ruth nodded. “There once was a time when I felt as if I had no hope and no future, but the Lord took my mourning and turned it into dancing.”
“He took our sin and covered it with grace,” Tamar replied.
“He took the broken pieces of our lives,” Sarah said, “and turned them into something beautiful.”
“Look!” Naamah declared in wonder.
They watched in silence as the girl, now lying on a blanket upon the hay-strewn stable floor, gave birth.
“How do you feel, Mary?” her husband asked her in concern.
The girl smiled and a divine light seemed to radiate from her young face.
A wonderfully cool night breeze wafted in from outside and blew a lock of her dark hair back from her face.
It felt so good to her flushed skin and lessened the stench of the animals.
She inhaled a deep breath of the fresh air and answered, “I am indeed greatly blessed among women. Before, I was so afraid, but now—now I realize that there is truly no reason to be afraid. Now I realize that all of my fear and anger and anxiety—none of that matters now.”
Joseph smiled and looked down at the child lying upon her chest, wrapped up in swaddling clothes.
He tenderly brushed his fingers across the baby’s silken cheek and marveled at the tiny hands, the deep brown eyes, the fuzzy chestnut-colored hair that sprouted out from the small head.
Tears stung at his eyes and he looked back to Mary with love and joy shining in his eyes. “Especially now.”
© Whitney L. Schwartz
(Winner of Christian Flash Weekly Event 36)