Egypt was incredible, we spent three years there, and I can’t even begin to describe what we saw. The trip was hardly longer than the journey would have been back to Nazareth, but we knew that we would be safe from Herod’s insanity once we left Israel. His reach didn’t extend across the border.

It was only later that I heard what he had done to the little ones in Bethlehem. Maybe you’ve heard rumors about that night, so many years ago, how Herod’s men killed dozens of baby boys. Well, the stories were true. Nobody understood why it happened. Herod wanted to kill Jesus.

I felt so guilty that we had escaped when so many parents had to grieve an unimaginable loss at the hands of that mad man.

Eventually, I realized I wasn’t to blame for what happened and that a vicious evil man, consumed with jealousy and fear, was to blame.

The trip didn’t take long and was mostly uneventful. Mostly, but not entirely. While we were making our way through one desolate stretch, a group of robbers decided that we would be easy prey.

They demanded that we give them everything we had, and while we didn’t have much, we did have the gifts that the travelers had given Jesus. And Joseph wasn’t about to give those up without so much as a fight.

The leader of the group was determined to take all we had. Joseph, bless his heart, did the ‘man thing’ and told them that he would die before giving them anything. Well, that didn’t impress them, and the leader simply told his men to kill us and take what we had.

I wondered about the injustice of it. To have the angel warn us about Herod, only to die in the desert. One of the robbers drew his sword, but instead of harming us, he turned and stood between his friends and us.

He told the group it wasn’t worth the effort or the risk for what little we might have, and he wasn’t going to be part of three murders. Then he told us to go our way. As we gathered up our belongings, he leaned over, looked into Jesus’ eyes, and said the strangest thing. “My name is Dismas, little one, and if we ever meet again, remember what I did for you.”

I’ve often wondered what became of him.

 Egypt may not have been very far away, but it was a completely different world. The people looked different from us, and they had their own language. Luckily we all spoke Greek, and when people heard that we were seeking a safe place, they accepted us into their community.

And while we were there, we saw the most amazing things. It seemed that everywhere we went, there were Pyramids, large and small. Nobody could explain how or even why they were built, only that they had been there for thousands of years.

There were temples not built for one god, but for many different gods, and for kings and queens who thought they were gods.

We used the gold we received from the travelers to make our way from Giza up the Nile River to Upper Egypt, which was to the South. I know that sounds strange, but it is what it is. Oh, Peter, you would have loved the Nile. It isn’t nearly as wide as Galilee, but it stretches the country’s entire length. You can sail for days. And when we weren’t in the vast stretches of deserts, the riverbanks were lush and green, and farms covered the land as far as you could see.

When we finally arrived in Assiut, Joseph was able to find work as a carpenter. Things always needed to be fixed, and he was excellent at what he did.

And that’s where we lived. The people welcomed us into their community, and we stayed until Joseph was visited by the angel again. You’d think by then they would have been on a first-name basis. The angel told Joseph that Herod had died and it was safe to return to Nazareth, and we did.

By then, people had mostly forgotten the scandal around my pregnancy, and it wasn’t long before it was like we had never left.

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