She didn’t even notice when it happened; not at first. Perhaps it was when she was drawing water from the well, or playing tag with her friends when somewhere deep inside her some mysterious timepiece struck midnight. Silently, powerful forces began to be released setting in motion the most profound series of transformations she had experienced since she developed in her mother’s womb.
Day after day, her body began changing, morphing into a person who was strange and new to her. If her outward metamorphosis was unsettling, it paled in comparison to her inner self. Suddenly, the games she had always enjoyed playing with the younger children seemed juvenile, and silly. Her emotions stunned her, surging and dipping like the waves of the sea.
The onset of puberty is profound for any girl, but so much more for a 1st century girl in Palestine, for the dramatic changes in her body and mind were just a foreshadowing of greater changes to come. It meant the little girl who not so long ago had been playing tag , was about to become a wife.
In 1st century Palestine, the betrothal process for girls began at puberty, around the age of 12 1/2. This is most likely when the process began for Mary, the mother of Christ. Males were older, closer to the age of 18.