The journey from Bethlehem to Egypt was long and arduous and dangerous. Joseph stopped only as needed for only as long as needed.
And then they were on their way again.
Joseph wiped his forehead and thanked God for their donkey – a steadfast creature who went wherever Joseph led him.
“Are you sure?” asked Mary. “I don’t mind walking.”
Joseph shook his head. “I’ll rest in a little while.”
“Joseph, I don’t mind.”
He looked back at her.
There were no gold ornaments in her hair or her ears. No sheer veils of silk and shine. Her clothes were plain and unadorned. And her child slept in plain linen. Yet, to his eyes, she was a queen.
“I am fine.”
They reached Egypt without falling prey to sickness or robbers. And there they stayed.
Until, at last, one particular night arrived.
The sky was filled with a million stars. “It’s as if God tossed all of the sand into the sky and set the grains aflame.” said Joseph in awe.
Mary smiled. “So, it does seem.”
Joseph looked down at the Child in his arms.
I wonder. Will I still be around when he becomes of age? Will I be there to protect Mary from the sorrow that is yet to come? Will I live to an old age?
He sang a song to Jesus. The words were nonsense meant only to soothe a sleepy child, but the melody had a gentle rise and fall.
“I don’t know that song.” said Mary.
Joseph smiled. “Because it is one from my own head.”
“I like it.” She smiled as Jesus yawned. “I believe He likes it too.”
“Then, I will continue.”
A shooting star arced the sky.
Mary took Jesus into her bedroom and Joseph retired to his own.
He closed his eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
He stood at the River Jordan. He had never seen it before. Yet, he knew beyond any doubts that it was the River Jordan.
A creature emerged from the sunlit water.
There was nothing in this world that he could compare it to. So great and terrible was its beauty.
He bowed before it and pressed his head against the sand.
“Joseph. Fear not. I have come with a message. Herod – he who sought the life of the child you have named Jesus – has passed into judgment. You may now return to Nazareth with the Child and His mother. And fear not the journey ahead. God will be with you.”
Joseph raised his head and considered asking the questions that hid inside his heart.
But the creature disappeared and the dream ended.
Joseph opened his eyes and it was still dark.
Yet, his soul shone bright with illumination.
“Yea. I will fear not the journey ahead. God, lead me as You will and I will follow.”