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Archive for December, 2008

Holiday Message from Joe and Mary Carpenter

Posted by Ron George on December 26, 2008

"Nativity 2" by He Qi

“Nativity 2” by He Qi

Greetings from the Carpenters!

Well, it’s been several years since you heard from us, and you may be surprised that we’re married. Well, SO ARE WE! Our engagement was cut short a few years ago – in fact, Joe almost called it off when Mary got pregnant before we tied the knot. Joe was pretty unhappy, but he bit the bullet and we got married anyway. Joe has finally stopped talking quiet divorce.

Mary packed off right after the wedding so the town gossips wouldn’t notice her getting prematurely great with child. She stayed with her Aunt Liz for three months or so. (Now, there’s story. Liz and Shecky were never able to have children, but then she got pregnant in her old age. Shecky was literally struck dumb! They now have a boy named John.)

Mary came home to Nazareth and things got back to something like normal. It was a little tense, of course, but Joe had his business and Mary her new home. Then came the census! Talk about bad timing. Mary on the verge of popping, and we have to hoof it down to Bethlehem – 150 miles, in winter, mind you, and not exactly the scenic route! Just try walking for a week or so with a cranky, pregnant woman. We weren’t speaking much before the trip, so you can imagine what it was like when we got to Bethlehem and couldn’t find a place to stay! Oh, and did we mention that Mary went into labor about the time we got sent to a stable? She lost it, folks, she really lost it.

OK, so Joe found a midwife then went to find some groceries. By the time he got back, Mary’s screaming bloody murder and he’s thinking: “I won’t have to divorce her after all, because she’s going die right here.” The baby finally came, a boy, and Mary had already picked a name – Joshua Emmanuel bar Joseph. We call him Josh, and Joe has warmed up to the little bugger, even if he is someone else’s kid. Just between us, we like to say he came from God, which is better than quarreling about who his father is. (That’s what we told some shepherds, by the way, when some came by the stable to get out of the cold.) Josh was circumcised in Jerusalem, according to the Torah.

We stayed in Bethlehem for a while until Mary was ready to travel. Joe got some good work here and there, so we stayed on for a while and, really, were in no hurry to leave. We found a nice little house and were almost settled. Then these guys show up, weirdo gentiles with star charts babbling about a new king in Israel. They wanted to see Josh, and when they came into the house, they went totally prostrate. It scared the boy half to death and Mary, too. Joe ran them off. Talk like that can get you crucified in Judah. (Up in Galilee, we hear that kind of stuff all the time.)

We had to play it safe, so we beat it back to Nazareth, but we told all the kinfolk in Bethlehem we were headed for Egypt. (Yeah, right, but they went along with it.) We heard later that King Herod’s troops swept through town and killed all the boys less than two years old. We hate that, but they would have killed us on the spot if they’d found us. A word of advice: Stay away from gentile stargazers.

So, it’s been a rocky three years, to say the least, but we’ve managed to stay together. Josh has really taken to Joe. Jacob was born last spring, and Mary is pregnant again. Business is good and we’re looking forward to a good year. In a way, all the difficulties in the beginning made our marriage strong in ways we could not have imagined at first. God has blessed us with healthy boys and a good house in a time of plenty. Herod is dead, so we’re safe, at least for the time being – as long as we stay in Galilee.

We’ll keep you posted. Let us hear from you!

The Joe Carpenter Family

Nazareth, Galilee


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