Through the eyes of a father
part 6 of 6
The Exodus to Egypt
We knew we couldn’t go back to Nazareth, so we stayed in Bethlehem. My brother and I got some work, and a new place to stay, but it was hard to get away from the questions. It was just starting to quiet down when the Eastern Rulers came.
They found us and told us of their journey. They claimed the stars had proclaimed the king of the Jews had come. They traveled to Bethlehem to track him down and the townspeople directed them to us. They brought us many gifts; expensive gifts and worshipped the toddler as a king. It was too much.
The night they left, I had another dream. Again the Messenger came. This time he told me to leave at once and go to Egypt. “Go now. Don’t delay,” he said. “Leave tonight.” He told me that Herod would try to kill the boy.
We’ve been on this journey since then. What does all this mean? I have no answers.
At that moment, strangers approached the fire. Their arrival awakened Joseph from his thoughts. They seemed excited, maybe even agitated. The men of the fire welcomed them and offered them food and drink. They couldn’t wait for the usual greetings and pleasantries to be exchanged before they burst into their story. The older one said,
“We come with horrible news.” Every ear and eye was turned to the man. Even the woman’s fire grew quiet. He spoke loud enough for all to hear…
“There has been a great tragedy in Bethlehem. Herod, the king of the Jews (the sarcasm and hatred clearly evident in his voice) sent his palace guards to the village and destroyed every male child under the age of two…”
You could hear the gasps of men and women alike. Some let out mourning wails and others cursed. They old man went on to describe in horrible detail the tragedy visited on the town and surrounding villages. This great evil was visited upon the people by their own ruler.
But Joseph was no longer listening. “That’s why we had to leave.” He thought to himself.
He forced himself to look for Mary at the other fire. Their eyes met. She was clutching her sleeping boy very tightly and rocking him more than before. There were tears of sadness in her eyes. There was a touch of fear in them as well. She now knew what he had suspected all along. She now knew that the Almighty had saved them and her son from certain death. She now realized why Joseph insisted they tell everyone they were from Nazareth.
Joseph once more drifted away into his own thoughts. He remembered how the shepherds had come and told them of the Messenger’s proclamation; “Peace on earth and Goodwill to all the people.” This did not seem like peace.
He looked again at Mary and Jesus. “Who is this boy? What does all this mean? How can he save us from our sins? How will he rule us? How can this child, sleeping quietly in his mother’s arms, bring peace to earth?”
Joseph quietly slipped into spontaneous prayer.
“Almighty, I have understood so little. I have taken Mary as my wife; I have taken the boy and named him Jesus. I stayed away from Nazareth and slipped away from Bethlehem as your Messenger directed. I am on my way to Egypt not knowing where to go or how long I must stay there. I have done all that you have asked, but this I would ask of you. Watch over our son; your son, and cause all that has been spoken about him to come to pass. May he rule on the throne of David and bring peace on earth and goodwill to all the people. Please, let him save us from our sins.”
Merry Christmas to all of us. The One has come, Joseph’s faith and prayer coupled with the Father’s plan have shown us just how this child would rule the earth and save us from our sins.