By the time the three kings left, day had fallen into evening.
Joseph sighed. “We’ll return to Nazareth tomorrow. It is too late to travel safely now.”
They said their night prayers and they fell asleep. Mary beside Jesus. And Joseph alone.
Joseph opened his eyes. He stood in a place where the sky met the sea and both were true blue.
A creature of pure light came before him.
“Joseph.” Its voice was like a wondrous new Psalm. “I have warned the Magi and sent them on a safe path to their homeland. I will now do the same for you. Herod is searching for the Child that you have named Jesus. He wishes to take His life. You must not let this happen. Take the Child and His mother to Egypt.”
“It is far out of Herod’s reach. The Child will be safe there.”
“When must I go?”
“Tonight. Now. Do not tarry. And fear not. God is with you.”
“Will we stay in Egypt always?”
“No. Herod’s days grow short. I will come again to you when it is time to return to your home. Go, Joseph, and go in peace.”
Joseph opened his eyes. He shook the hay out of his clothes and woke Mary.
She looked up at him.
“I’m sorry, Mary, but we are not safe. We must leave tonight.”