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Crouching in a cave

by davesandel on December 28th, 2019

Crouching in a cave

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Our help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. We escaped with our lives like a bird from the fowler’s snare; the snare was broken, and we escaped. Always, our help is in the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

– From Psalm 124

How many times do I remember that night, standing in the mouth of the cave with Joseph, hearing Mary and baby Jesus rustle in the dark behind us, and listening with every ear for the sound of Roman soldiers! We are on the road to Egypt. Another dream that carpenter had, that Joseph!

He’s getting to be a regular mystic, my friend Joseph. God spoke to him again. “Rise and take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you” (Matthew 2). Herod’s paranoia is getting the better of him. He’s terrified and determined to kill the baby who threatens his throne.

Joseph knocked on my door last night at midnight, and we were gone by one. The stars shone as bright as they could shine. They marked an easy path for us but also for the soldiers. We ran and tripped in fear, crushed by our imaginations, of soldiers roughly grabbing Jesus … leaving nothing left for us but stains of blood on simple swaddling clothes.

O for the safety now of their simple manger! They told me the story, and I wish I’d seen those animals breathing in the cold night, shepherds surprising them and falling on their knees beside the manger, the star that stayed in place above, until the family left.

The angels heard Mary’s magnificent call for justice, but so I fear, did Satan.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. (From Luke 1)

 Satan has been whispering in Herod’s ear.

But we stop to pray four times a day. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who will not leave us or forsake us, who is our help in time of trouble, who will never grow weary, never grow faint. God keeps Joseph and his family a step ahead of trouble.

Jesus must be a pretty special baby.

Morning breeze comes cold and fresh. Dawn birds start their singing. I wrap my blanket a little closer, now I lay me down to sleep, for an hour or two. I close my eyes, but But Joseph still stands, silhouette against the start of morning, standing beside the angel.

I only know what Joseph tells me. One mystic is enough for this trip. But in the heart of me, I know that God is near.

There might be wolves too, Lord, not just soldiers. Without you, we would not last an hour, but with you we can cross the desert and live. Our help comes always in your name, Maker of heaven and earth. You are our hiding place.

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