December 15th

19th Chisleu

Dear Diary;

Because of one delay after another we were not able to go as soon as we wanted to. The most tragic is that my Savta suddenly took ill. She was my mother’s mother, and always very dear to me. I couldn't bear to leave her when she was so low, but she passed away, so we will sadly depart after the funeral. This will be all for now, for I want to take one last look at her calm, still face before we follow the bier to the grave site.

December 16th

20th Chisleu

Dear Old Diary;

I am not feeling very brave today even though the stars are twinkling brightly in the otherwise black, early morning sky. Yosef is loading Mojo, our donkey. Somewhere, far, far away in a place called Bethlehem the stars are also shining, I suppose, but the track is so rough and dark between here and there. There are treacherous mountains just a few miles from the road we must take, and who know what kinds of animals might come prowling around at night. It will take us many days to get there, and this is happening so close to when the baby is expected to arrive! I have never been far from home except for the time I went to see Aunt Elisheva, and I dread this journey! At least this time I will have Yosef with me! What a consolation! My deepest fear is for the Baby because I am so near the end. Oh, if only it would have worked out to leave earlier! Will He be all right?

I know we will not be traveling alone but that is not much of a consolation. Cousin Abigail, who used to be my dearest friend, will be in the company, but she has been cool and aloof since my condition was revealed.

I will add, however that that is—maybe? Easier to handle than the scathing remarks Shoshoni made to Tamara at the marketplace. I think she knew I could have heard her!

My sister Hanalei claims Shoshoni has always been jealous of me, but why? I am not that special! Some have called me sweet and pretty but she is beautiful! Besides her father is a prosperous merchant and we are so poor.

It has been such a trial how the villagers have shunned me the last while, and whispered behind their hands. I am so lonely for the merry prattle we aant’ats used to indulge in when we met at the well each morning, but now everyone just falls silent or walks slowly away while my eyes dolefully follow them.

Oh well, it could be so much worse. For some reason, and I am not sure why, it has not made that great of a difference that Yosef married me. Is it because of Yaakov? I probably shouldn’t have written that, yet I do know that someone is spreading rumors that Yosef is not the father. “They” have been saying that I was overtaken by a Roman soldier. Of course that is not true!

My aleichem, neighbors, could be making cutting remarks to my face but most of them don’t. I mentioned Shoshoni, but really most of them don’t say so very much . . . in my presence. Sometimes I fear that the Little One I care about so deeply may have to suffer much worse persecution than I, and oh how I yearn to protect Him! Why do such thoughts come to me? Most people think that the Mashiach will be a glorious King and will rule with a scepter of gold. If that is the whole truth, why would a poor talitha like me be asked to be His mother? It is confusing. I am so inadequate for such a privilege, and awesome responsibility!

I wish Imma could come along to Bethlehem. It would be such a comfort. But, on the other hand, maybe it is better that she is not able. She tends to worry so.

“Be sure to keep warm, and do not let yourself get too tired.”

She has told me that countless times, or so it seems. How can I keep from getting tired? I am worn out already, and we have not even begun! Imma is scurrying towards me with a nicely wrapped parcel of food for the journey. I really must go help now.