Today has been one of those days when it was more challenging to get my post done for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. However, for those of you still wandering the internet and the blog list, the daughter of a shepherd is Rebekah.
In the first book of the Women of the Bible series, Rebekah is the daughter of a shepherd who visited the manger the night that Jesus was born. She is a fictional character whose life intertwines with Martha and Mary of Bethany. Rebekah is orphaned at age six and the story follows her for the next ten years through hardship and abuse. According to Jewish laws of the time, she had to be taken in by a male relative, in this case her uncle, but Rebekah was not guaranteed what kind of treatment she would receive.
Then Jesus of Nazareth arrived in Jerusalem and Bethany.
The theme of redemption I wanted to weave through the story was twofold. One, I based on the idea of a kinsman redeemer who would rescue Rebekah. Second, I based on the idea of a redeemer who would change her life.
I originally thought of Mary’s Exile, Book 4 in the Women of the Bible series, as a different kind of Christmas story. The most commonly accepted contemporary version of the nativity includes a visit from the three kings, or the three wise men, from the East. But as a matter of historical fact we don’t really know if the wise men came that first night or sometime later, and some sources lead me to think that it could have taken them as long as two years to arrive in Bethlehem. That is where Mary’s Exile begins. Jesus is no longer an infant. He is a toddler.
The story of the nativity is also a story of Herod’s reaction to the birth of a new “king” in his own back yard. Jealous of his position, and probably more than a little bit psychotic, King Herod sends his soldiers to Bethlehem to kill every baby boy up to the age of two. At about the same time, Joseph was awakened in a dream and told to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt.
Mary’s Exile is my story of what I think Mary might have gone through with her husband and young son as they ran for their lives across an endless desert. Part of my vision of this journey includes some of my own experience in raising children. The key question for me was, did Jesus know who and what he was when he was only two? I decided it would be more interesting to describe Jesus as more child than messiah. I saw him much like any other chubby-cheeked, curious, and adventurous child of his age, but also as one who had a powerful effect on everyone he met, an effect he, himself, did not grasp: He is loving to his parents. He doesn’t want to miss anything. He is delighted in people, animals and objects. He is persistent about doing all that he wants to do. But he also tires from trying to do more than he can.
We all know that Jesus, Mary and Joseph survived this journey, but what I tried to do was create a surprise in telling how they did it. I also wanted to maintain consistency with the overall message of the Women of the Bible series and portray Mary as a woman who would do whatever it took to save the life of her child.
I’d like to invite you on an adventure with me for the next 26 days. You might notice the A-Z Challenge avatar to the right of this post. That’s right, I’m a part of that challenge and for you, my readers, I want to give you a chance to get to know the Women of the Bible series better by sharing excerpts, character sketches and interviews, research behind the stories, and reviews from other readers with you.
I hope you’ll come along and I’d love for you to leave your thoughts and comments.
The book we’ve been talking about and you’ve been waiting for is here and available for you and your friends. I’m very excited.
Miriam’s Room can be found at this link.
In Miriam’s Room, you’ll read the story of the wife of a wealthy copper trader and community leader in Jerusalem, mother of John Mark, Miriam faces a society in which she must hide her strength and knowledge in the sanctuary of her upper room. In the world outside she fights not only her emotions but also the influence of a young Zealot who wants to claim her son for his cause against Rome. In Miriam’s determination to save John Mark from himself, will she drive her son away? And how can this new Rabbi open her eyes and restore her broken heart?
You can get your copy on Kindle or in print and give it as gifts to your friends who have been waiting anxiously right along with you for this next book in the series.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it for you. I’d love it if you’d leave a review when you’ve finished. Thank you so much and have a blessed day.