23 Mary returned his smile and understood his wisdom. They abided in Egypt until word came that Herod had died in agony of a terrible sickness and it was safe for them to return.
24 As they journeyed home they stopped at Jerusalem, to make sacrifice for The Child for in their flight from Herod they had not been able to do so.
There was a man there named Simeon who was just and decent, waiting for the consolation of Israel. The Holy Ghost came upon him. It was revealed to him that he should not die until he had seen The Christ. He had waxed old with age. He came unto the temple driven by the Spirit when the parents came to do sacrifice to the Child according to the law.
2 When Simeon saw The Child he saw, too, Its Glory. He raised his arms to Heaven, blessing God and crying, "Oh, Lord, long has your servant waited to depart from this flesh in peace, according to Your Word. Now my eyes have seen Your salvation, have seen Your Gift to all of Israel which the prophets did proclaim; That which you have prepared before the face of all the people, a Light to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people, Israel."
3 Joseph and Mary marveled at these things that were spoken. Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, "This Child is set for the fall and the rising again of many in Israel. For the signs are fulfilled of which the Prophets spoke."
4 Then he departed unto his home and laid down to sleep with his Fathers.
5 There was also in the temple, Anna, a prophetess. She, too, was great with age, and was a widow of many yars, who departed not from the temple but spent her days in fasting, prayer, and the glorification of God. She, too, came forth, praising God, blessed The Child, and said of Him, "From His beginning to His end shall the wonders of God follow Him. Seek not to hinder Him. Let him come and go by God's Will. For no man nor woman should hinder the passage of God."
6 Mary asked of her, "Shall I not be unto Him a mother? Shall my husband be not unto Him as father?"
7 The wise woman took their hands. "The Greatest Of Mothers you shall be, and the Greatest Of Fathers. But you will know when God is upon Him and when it is time to follow, not to lead."
8 Both Mary and Joseph understood her, and completing the tradition returned into Galilee to their beloved Nazareth, that Prophecy might be fulfilled.
9 The Child grew strong in body and Spirit. His wisdom was a wonder to his parents.
10 Next to their house was a great estate. There lived a kind old couple who Mary had seen often, but knew little.
11 One day she heard a great argument coming from the house and was troubled. After a time the shouting stopped. She looked around to find her son, but he was nowhere to be found. Searching she went into their yard and found that the neighbor's wall had fallen as if a great wind had knocked it down. From their garden she heard a woman's giggles, and a man's laughter.
12 When she looked through she saw the old ones with her Child. She passed over into their property apologizing that her son had entered therein.
13 "Think not of it," the man answered. "He is a glorious child, and brought us much joy. Let him come over any time he wishes. Even if that which he says does not come to pass, his company is joyous."
14 "What is it that He has said?" Mary asked.
15 The husband looked embarrassed, but the woman answered without hesitation. "I have been neglectful of fulfilling my husband's needs. I saw no point in it as it has never given me child. But this one has reminded me of the joy it gave us, and that it is God's way between man and woman. He has said if I fulfill my duties God will give me that that I desire. How does one so young know of such intimate things?"
16 "What He knows," Mary answered, "is from God."
17 The old couple nodded in understanding. Mary took The Child and departed.
18 Some days later Mary was woke early and found The Child in the kitchen, filling a sack with bread and meat. Beside Him sat a small jug of water. "Where are you going?" His mother asked.
19 "Do not fear," The Child answered, "I shall return by nightfall. I go to fulfill a promise."
20 Though she was fearful Mary did not hinder Him, but all day, as any mother would, she worried. Then, near dusk, she saw Him returning. Beside Him walked a boy about His own age, and He carried a little girl somewhat younger, who SHOULD have been a great burden to Him. But He walked as if she weighed nothing at all.
21 He passed with them by His house, going through the gap in the neighbor's wall. Mary followed after. The woman sat in the garden and smiled as the children entered. "What is this?" she asked.
22 "This," Jesus told her, "is God's gift for your faithfulness to your husband, and, for your performance of your duties. Their mother was traveling with some men. One morning when they awoke the men were gone, and their mother would not awaken. God sent me to bring them to you."
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