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Not Going to Egypt

December 20

Part 3


We begin on the Royal Road, and thank the stars for that. The road stretches all the way across the Arabian Desert, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. No one needs a guiding star on the Royal Road. All you have to do is follow the road.


But somewhere near the middle, we stop. The star moves off the road to the south. My master pulls at my reins, telling me to follow, but I don't want to. "Stay on the road," I try to tell him. "Stay on the road." But my master will not listen. He pulls again, toward the star. Reluctantly, I step into the open desert, and I no longer know where we are going.


Days pass, then weeks.


 Storms erupt from the quiet sand.

And I am helpless to help.


Plateaus collapse into gaping canyons.

And I am helpless to help


Then we near a river:


The Euphrates slithers this way and that across the desert's floor.

And I am helpless to help.


Across the Euphrates, another road stretches southwest into the distance. I recognize the King's Road. We must be going to Egypt, land of gods and kings, pyramids and sphinxes. Perhaps the star is no rebel after all, but a messenger of an ancient ruler, or even a great Egyptian god. I still journey alone in the company of my master, but now I have the road and my destination to comfort me.


We move south along the Jordan River, until we reach the Dead Sea. Nothing lives in that sea. And even I would die if I drank the water. There is too much salt. This is no land fit for my master. I urge him on, south to Egypt. But the star moves west, toward the Mediterranean, and my master turns me toward the star.


I let out a disappointed shudder. We are not going to Egypt.

Move the wisemen closer to the Nativity.

Pray: Dear God help us follow your light even when we don't understand the way you are taking us. Amen

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