After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and escaped to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod’s death, so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled: Out of Egypt I called my Son.
Dear God, other than Simeon’s prophecy at the temple, I think this might be Mary’s first inkling that there could be scary parts of being Jesus’s mother. What was that conversation between her and Joseph like?
Joseph: Mary! Mary, wake up!
Mary: What? What is it?
Joseph: We have to go.
Mary: What do you mean, “We have to go”? Go where?
Mary: Egypt?!? What are you talking about? Can’t we talking about this in the morning?
Joseph: No. The angel said we have to go immediately.
Mary: You saw an angel?
Joseph: Yes, the angel came to me like he did before and told me, “Get up! Take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. For Herod is about to search for the child to kill him.”
Mary: What?!? Are you sure that’s what he said?
Joseph: As sure as I was when he visited me last time and told me to marry you.
Mary: Okay, let’s go!
What was that trip like? Was it frantic? Did they finance it with the gold from the wise men? I wonder what plans they had for their lives that they now had to scrap to follow the angel’s instructions. Had she made friends? Had he hit his stride with his work? Were they planning on raising Jesus in Bethlehem?
Your call to them to raise Jesus was a call to a difficult life. I like to joke that I think Noah got one of the worst deals in the Bible because of the work he had to go through and it would probably have been easier to just die in the flood, but Mary and Joseph had some real obstacles of their own. It feels like their lives were all about sacrificing to fulfill this call.
Then they probably heard about this after they arrived in Egypt:
Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance.
Survivors remorse? Guilt over their son’s existence having incited Herod into murdering those children? The anguish on behalf of all of those parents? Relief that they were safe in Egypt? I’m sure Mary had all of these things. I wonder how this whole event changed how protective she was of Jesus for the rest of his life.
Father, parenting can be scary. You can call us to sacrifice everything for the good of our children. Even when they are adults, their good can outweigh our own. And as we age into the end of our years, we need to consider our our own ending lives will impact them and die to ourselves for their benefit. So show me at any given moment what you are calling me to do for my children. Give me great discernment between what you need them to have from me and what you don’t need them to have from me. And everything you do for them or for me, make it something that is really for you and your glory, whatever it might cost me (and help me to be willing and ready to live up to those last words I just prayed).
In Jesus’s name I pray,