Joseph held his responsibility for protecting the newborn child and his mother at the top of his priorities. He watched them carefully, was glad when they found lodging soon after the census was taken. A little carpentry work took care of the cost of food and housing, so he was content.
Then came the dream. Herod was looking for them and they were to go immediately into Egypt to keep the child safe. Joseph went to Mary as she slept and roused her. After explaining what had happened, the two of the gathered what they would need for the journey.
The distance from Bethlehem to Egypt was more than 300 miles. Walking and with only a donkey to carry what they needed, the trip was formidable. I would think Joseph kept looking over his shoulder in his anguish to think someone would want to hurt Jesus.
When they finally came to Egypt their relief allowed them to rest more easily. They talked about the visit of the Wise Men, and how welcome their gifts were now.
They settled down, and lived there for many months.
In the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, there was a painting entitled the “Rest on the Flight into Egypt.” It showed the Sphinx in all its grandeur. Mary had climbed up to the arm of the sculpture, and was asleep. The child Jesus held firmly on her lap by the shawl she was wearing.
Joseph slept too, but a short way from the Sphinx, with his walking stick nearby. Lying completely prostrate his worry and fatigue was obvious.
They were out of Herod’s clutches, and he could relax.
The Sphinx had a gentle smile on his face. For me that smile spoke volumes. Jesus is here for all peoples and all are asked to protect him from harm in the persons they meet every day. Jesus is alive in each of us. If you think you cannot see him in someone, that person needs your special care and concern. Do everything you can so salvage the life of Jesus in that person. Pray especially for people on death row who are waiting for someone to put them to death. Others are dealing with the death of children unable to understand how or why. Most do not have a protector like Joseph. We, who are sheltered, must be like the sphinx, and offer a place of comfort, unknown to anyone else but God.
Love and Peace to all of you,