Matthew 2:19-21

Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

“Tell me again, mother.”

Mary tells Jesus again, and again, about the angels, the travels, the shepherds, the wise men, and the manger. She tells Him about the bright light that shone around the angel when he visited. She tells Him of the angel chorus in the sky, just as the shepherds had told her. She tells Jesus about Duncan the Donkey, and how he carried them to Bethlehem, and then to Egypt.

Jesus loves to hear the stories. He will sometimes ask for stories about the prophets, about the creation of the world, about the Great Flood. Most often, though, He asks His mother to tell Him stories about when she met Joseph, about how they came to be engaged, and then married, raising Him together. He is still young, and the stories are adventurers, like the one they’re taking now.

Word arrived of Herod’s death recently, but the family stayed put, awaiting the angel’s visit. That was part of the story–the angel told Joseph to stay in Egypt until he returned with word that it was safe to return. So they waited…until today.

Joseph’s face looks hopeful when he sits at the table for a morning meal, lines of worry gone after so long.

“Joseph?” Mary asks from across the table.

A smile cracks his face. “The angel came to me last night, Mary. It is safe to return to Israel.”

“It is?” Mary’s excitement grows out of the question, and she hops up from her chair, runs around the table, and gives her husband a kiss on the cheek. “We’re going home, Jesus!”

Jesus smiles at His parents, but wonders what it will be like to call another place home. This has been home for so long. Can two places be home?

As they make the trip to Israel, Mary tells Jesus about the first trip she made with Him.

“…and then Elizabeth met me at the doorway, and it was like her baby knew you, for he leapt with joy when he heard my voice.”

“Have I met him?” Jesus asks as they walk.

“You will.” Mary promises.

They walk in silence sometimes. Joseph points out little animals skittering in the brush near the road, and Jesus rattles out stories long into the night until they stop for rest.

Hearing that Archelaus rules over Judea, Joseph steers his family toward Galilee where they make their home and are called Nazarenes.

“It’s okay,” Mary says. “Our home is where we are together, and where God is with us.”

Joseph nods, and Jesus understands now.