For two more days, I will share my "Christmas Musings," inspired by "The Miracle of the Christmas Child." Today I continue to flesh out the characters in this beloved account of the birth of Christ, breathing life into a small portion of the story.
The family was exhausted after the unexpected visit of the Magi. They slept soundly that night, reliving the day's event in their dreams. But the night would be cut short, for a voice penetrated Joseph's dream. "Arise, Joseph. Quickly!"
Joseph stirred in his sleep. He was accustomed to being awakened by the Child some nights. But his dream was invaded by a figure in white. It seemed to be speaking to him. It was insistent. "Joseph, arise...quickly!" Even dreaming he was at attention. "Take Mary and Jesus," the stranger ordered, "and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I bring you further word. Herod is even now on his way to destroy the Child."
Joseph rose with a start. This was no dream...it was a word from God! Immediately he began to awaken Mary. Shaking her, he urged, "Mary, quickly, you must get up!"
"Joseph, what is it? Is it the Child?" She rubbed her eyes and sat up.
"An angel, Mary...an angel appeared to me in my dreams with a warning. We must flee immediately to Egypt..."
"E-gypt??" Mary interrupted, raising her voice. She sat up, wide awake. "Why..what..."
"Herod is seeking to destroy our Son, Mary. He is threatened by his mere existence. Herod wants no other king, present or future, to ruin his reign."
By now, Mary was up, hastily gathering what few provisions they had to sustain them on their long journey. Jesus began to stir. Joseph gazed at him, his brows furrowed with worry. "Father God, protect your Son. Lead us to your chosen place. Reveal your plan." A smile began to form on the earthly father's face as he watched his son in peaceful sleep. It was then he realized. "Yes, you will be with us, won't you, Father? You ARE with us...Emmanuel!
"The gifts, Joseph. We can't forget the gifts. They will provide what we need for the journey." Mary lifted them from a high shelf where they had placed them the night before, so young fingers could not play with the precious contents. 'How could the Magi have known..." She pondered the providence of her heavenly Abba.
The donkey packed, Mary was quickly seated on the burdened beast, and the Child, still sleeping, was placed in his mother's arms. Almost too big to be held, Mary adjusted her position to accommodate the growing boy.
Joseph, with a rapid pace, lead the tiny family through the dark winding streets, and out into the open fields. His eyes scanned the countryside, looking for anything or anyone that might be a threat. He spotted a small army advancing from between the northern hills, bearing their torches.
His pace quickened, and soon they were headed south, down towards En-Gedi, the arid land where King David hid from Saul. He pondered the irony of the situation. Another future king, in another century, fleeing from the present king who wished to kill him. 'History does repeat,' thought Joseph, "just as King David was saved from his enemies, God will protect Jesus from his adversaries.