I sat on my white embroidered bedspread and opened my sewing kit. It was so easy to put off mending. It took time out of my busy schedule to sit and piece something back together. But I wanted to wear this particular piece of clothing so there I sat. Stringing thread from the spool, I cut off the length I needed. I squinted with one eye, threading the thin white strand through the eye of the needle. As I began sewing, my mind lingered on Mary and Joseph’s relationship. I pushed and pulled my sharp needle through the fabric pondering the tumultuous start to their lives together.
How did Mary feel when she found out about her betrothal to Joseph? Did her eyes sparkle beneath her veil? Out of all the young women in the village, Joseph was chosen for her! I imagined her as she hummed wedding tunes, walking with a spring in her step as she went to the village well. Perhaps she helped her mother make bread. Maybe she assisted her Mother in altering an heirloom bridal gown and veil for the wedding. As was the custom, the family of the bride anticipated the moment of surprise when the bridegroom, Joseph, would show up at their house, wedding party in tow, to make Mary fully his own. Betrothal was much more binding than our modern engagement. Mary and Joseph were considered husband and wife in practically every sense except the physical act of marriage. But before Joseph came with the wedding party to make Mary fully his (to have and to hold) Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. I imagined the quiet whispers and lies spread around the village like fire on a match stick. “Did you hear the news? Shame on Joseph! What a disgrace— both of them are from such good families—”
I imagined Joseph’s reaction when he heard. He knew it was not his child. Was it his fellow carpenter? How about that farmer’s son? To quietly release Mary from their betrothal was the only option; he was planning a divorce.
As I pulled the needle through the fabric, the needle poked my thumb. I thought about the humble elation Mary felt when the angel Gabriel told her she was to carry the Son of God. She wrote a song “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices—” (Luke 1:46-47). Now everywhere she went did she see that disappointed look in Joseph’s eyes. I’m quite sure it haunted her. Did Mary toss and turn on her bed, weeping in quiet anguish before her Lord— “I am a virgin! Yet how can I convince Joseph? You said nothing was impossible for You. God I need your help.”
As I finished my mending, I remembered an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The Bible doesn’t record the time of mending between Joseph and Mary, but between the lines I could see them taking long walks in the starlight, perhaps learning to hold one another’s hand again. I think it took time for Mary to forgive Joseph for misjudging her character. I’m quite sure Joseph had to get over his shock and accept the situation.
Our minds often take time to unlearn misunderstandings, even though the evidence is clear as a wedding Saturday in June. Sometimes in our marriages, we can think we know something yet misunderstanding clouds our eyes. If this sounds all too familiar, maybe it’s time to take time— to mend.