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unchristmas story one who said noJudith had no real interest in men, but she had a burning desire for motherhood and family life. She wanted a husband and a house full of children. She wanted to spend her days nursing and swaddling babes and raising a brood of healthy, happy, devout children. Judith also enjoyed the prospect of having a husband to tend to and make happy. Domestic bliss was a strong yearning in her, and she increasingly understood that such a wife would be beyond her if she said yes to God.

Of course she would have a child and her husband—of sorts. But a family with only one child was so, well, so odd and somehow unfulfilling for a woman who loved all children and all life. She wanted a noisy, laughing, chaotic household, but that would not be. And this craving for normalcy, for the life of regular and predictable patterns and certain joys, kept growing within her.

And what of the gossip? Bethlehem was a small place. A pregnant, unmarried woman? A fit candidate for a stoning. She would shame her entire family, even those who lived in far-off Jerusalem, the shame would spread and darken all their lives. She needed to think of them, she needed to accept how this might ruin her family. But she ultimately dismissed these fears of lost reputation and overcame the desire for the simple pleasures of a normal life. She would not be so selfish and so self-absorbed when the future of all mankind hung in the balance —if you were to believe the Angel….

Judith was filled with pride. Genuine, overwhelming and wholly justifiable pride. Such a child she would bear! Unique, powerful, compassionate and touched with immortality. And she could see the glory that would be hers, the praise that would be lavished upon her for untold generations. She could see millions of people praying to her—to her!—for intercession with her Son. She would be loved and cherished throughout the entire world; she would command greater allegiance than any king or prophet ever dreamt. She understood that most of her glory would be reflected glory: glory drawn from and reflecting the shimmering majesty of her Son. But she also sensed that she would be lauded in her own right and that this was only right. She was giving up so much to serve God obediently. Wouldn’t she deserve praise and even worship? Worship?!

Oh God, please no. Would you lead others into the temptation? Into a depraved idolatry? Was she herself falling into this trap? She could already sense, far in the future, multitudes of desperate, lonely people on their knees, praising and praying. She was ashamed to confess it, but she was too honest not to confront it: she wanted that adulation….

The above is an excerpt from Ambassador Mussomeli’s novella, The UnChristmas Story: The One Who Said No. The Imaginative Conservative applies the principle of appreciation to the discussion of culture and politics—we approach dialogue with magnanimity rather than with mere civility. Will you help us remain a refreshing oasis in the increasingly contentious arena of modern discourse? Please consider donating now.

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