The night after the Magi’s visit found Joseph shaking Mary awake before dawn. His eyes were wide, “Mary, wake up! We need to leave, now!”
“What is it, Joseph?”
“I just got another visit from the angel.” Joseph was putting his clothes on.
“You mean Gabriel?”
“He didn’t tell me his name. He said we need to go to Egypt quickly. Herod wants Jesus dead!” Joseph took the wool blanket off the bed and placed only the essentials they would need on it, nothing more, except the gifts. He put a rope diagonally over the pile and skillfully folded the blanket to make a sling to carry on his back.
Mary rolled out of bed. She worked around her belly as she prepared the remaining blankets for the trip. “Do you think we’ll ever travel when I’m not pregnant?”
“I’m not sure that’s possible. God has already blessed us since the birth of Jesus.” He gave Mary a kiss on the cheek as he walked by.
Jesus was standing at the edge of His crib. Joseph picked Him up and changed His diaper.
Mary searched the kitchen for something to eat. She found some dried figs and unleavened bread. She wrapped them together, then in a towel before she stuffed them in her garment. She took Jesus from Joseph.
He picked up their belongings. “Do we have everything?”
Mary looked at his wide eyes. “We have Jesus, you and me, that’s all we really need.”
Joseph smiled at her. “Now I know why God chose you. You’re the best!”
She smiled as she walked out the door. “Shouldn’t we tell somebody we’re leaving?”
Joseph closed the door. “I’ll tell the shepherds as we go by. They’ll be the only ones who’ll believe that an angel just talked to me, anyway.”
As the morning rays were casting their long shadows the trio approached a caravan of traders readying to pull out. Joseph leaned over to Mary. “Slide the bracelet up your forearm. They must not know we have gold.”
Mary obeyed. “Do you think they’ll let us join them?”
Joseph hoisted Jesus on his shoulders. “I don’t know. But, it won’t hurt to ask.”
The man yelling out orders was making his way to the back of the troupe. Joseph picked up his pace. “Excuse me, do you have room for a small family?”
The man stopped and looked at Joseph. “What do you have?”
“It’s just me and the boy, along with my wife who’s expecting our first… um, we hope our first daughter. My name is Joseph, we’re from Nazareth. I’m a carpenter by trade. I heard there are jobs to be had in Egypt. We’d appreciate the safety of traveling with your group.”
“I have no need of a house, or furniture. I’m afraid we’re full. There’s no room for more.” The man walked away.
Mary and Joseph looked at each other. “Where have we heard that before?”
Jesus tapped his hands on Joseph’s head. “Mer…”
The man stopped, he slowly turned around. “I am in need of some myrrh. The Egyptians pay well for it. I could only obtain some poor samples.”
Joseph picked Jesus off his shoulders and handed Him to Mary. Then he took the pack down. “I just so happen to have some of the best myrrh to be found. If you throw in our meals we could do some business.”
The man inspected the package before he opened it. He smiled at Joseph. “I have only heard of myrrh this pure. Where did you get this?”
Joseph swallowed. “It was a gift.”
The trader laughed. “Joseph of Nazareth I like you! I wouldn’t tell where I got this either. Come, we’ll feed you well… you and your family.” He turned around. “Irfan and Shashi get off those camels, they belong to these fine people. Don’t look at me that way. I had to walk when I was your age and I turned out all right.”
After Herod died Joseph received word from the angel they could make a leisurely return home. Joseph was pleased to find the same trader preparing to leave for a trip East. Jesus was standing on Joseph’s right, Joseph was holding James in his left arm. Mary was cradling their first daughter. “Excuse me, do you have any room for an enlarged family?”
The man turned and smiled. “Joseph, the carpenter, you do know how to build a good-looking family. I’m afraid I have no need for more myrrh at this time.”
Joseph smiled. “That’s OK, I’m all out of myrrh.” He offered the semi-circular box in his right hand. “I hope this will suffice for safe passage to Jerusalem in time for Passover… with meals.”
The trader smiled as he inspected the contents, “Joseph of Nazareth you are in the wrong business. This is the best frankincense I’ve seen in a long time. It will more than pay for a side trip to Jerusalem. The priests will pay handsomely for this. We leave at sunrise.”
Joseph pulled Mary to his side. “I’m just looking forward to settling down and giving my family some roots.”
Joseph the carpenter, a man of action; especially when he knows he’s received word from God. How many of us long to have the same thing said of us? It’s never too late to start. He didn’t receive the details of how things would turn out before he jumped into action mode. He just did what he was told, or, as any red-neck would appreciate, he got ‘er done.
Running isn’t generally accepted as the most manly thing to do in our culture, but there are definitely times when it’s the best course of action. It’s what the first Joseph to lead his family into Egypt did when Mrs. Potiphar seduced him into leaving his outer clothes behind; and what the Apostle Paul admonishes us to do when facing any temptation:
Flee from… sexual immorality (1 Cor 6:18), idolatry(1 Cor 10:14), the evil desires of youth (2 Tim 2:22).
I’ll see you later. Wade