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Rachel, and husband, Jacob, a shepherd to whom the angels proclaimed the birth of Messiah, become friends with Mary and Joseph while the holy family stays in Bethlehem. However, when Rachel's firstborn son is killed in the Slaughter of the Innocents, she bitterly rejects God.
Rachel tries to forget her grief in work. Jacob, seeing his wife unable to bear life where her son was killed, moves to Arimathea where he works as head shepherd for a wealthy landholder. In Arimathea Rachel bears another son, Benjamin, and a daughter, Rebecca. She begins selling baskets and rugs in a neighboring city and trains other women to help her.
Rachel's children, Benjamin and Rebecca become fast friends with Nathan and Elisheba, children of Joseph of Arimathea. Rebecca marries Nathan and moves into the home of her in-laws. The week after Benjamin's wedding, Jacob is killed while protecting the flocks. Rachel still struggles with bitterness, but reasons that at least Jacob's death was the result of his work and not meaningless.
Benjamin marries a local girl, but loses her in childbirth. Like his father before him, he accepts from Joseph a position in another district. Rachel agrees to go with him to keep his home and help in his work as overseer of Joseph's holdings in Galilee. Once again Rachel sets up her business of weaving.
One of her servants tells her that Mary is now living in Nazareth. It has been more than thirty years since Rachel has seen the woman who was her dear friend. She visits her and they talk of Jesus who has just begun his ministry. While with Mary, Rachel is able to complete the reconciliation with God toward which she has struggled for thirty years.
Benjamin is betrothed to a young woman in Galilee. Before the marriage can take place, however, a poisonous snake bites Benjamin. His mother does all she can for him, then gives him into God's care and is able to say "Thy will be done." Benjamin dies and Rachel is left once more with grief.
But this is Nain, and on the way to the cemetery they meet...
Buy Rachel's Daughters: The Other Side of Christmas by Donna Swanson from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780595130177 & 0595130178
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