Joseph found a house for rent in the Jewish section of Alexandria a couple of days after their arrival, and, by the end of the month, he had established himself as a master carpenter with his own small shop. The Family made friends easily, but there were only two children, a boy and girl, who were close to Jesus’s age in the neighborhood.
It was bound to happen sooner or later, but I didn’t expect to find myself in Michael’s office within seconds after Jesus got hurt.
“You let Him fall!” I’d never seen Michael so angry. “What’s the matter with you? Don’t you know Who He is?” Michael paced behind his desk.
“Of course, I know but…” I shifted my weight from one foot to the other.
“Look, I let you off the hook at the stable in Bethlehem when you left Him alone. And again in the desert when sand got into His eyes and blinded Him.” Michael stopped pacing, planted his fists on his desk and leaned toward me. “And again when He got that fever a month ago.” Michael circled around his desk to face me. “But this…” He stepped closer, inches away from my face. “What’s your problem? You’re not quick enough to break His fall? Keep Him from getting hurt?” Michael’s voice echoed throughout Heaven.
“I’m sorry, Michael. I’m doing my best, but…”
“I’ve defended you more times than I care to count.” He shook his head. “But this! By all that is holy, you could have prevented this fall. You could have held Him up… done something to keep Him from getting hurt.”
It was true, I thought. I could have prevented Him from getting hurt.
He had been playing with the neighborhood children when He tripped on a stone. Blood poured out of His scraped knee. I had seen other children get hurt, but I didn’t expect all that blood, and He cried out! My eyes teared up and the tears slowly ran down my cheeks as I thought about what I had let happen.
I could have cushioned His fall by placing my hand between His knee and the gravel on the road.
I took several deep breaths and stifled a sob.
I shook my head as I remembered The Father’s command. “He must not be protected from the minor injuries of a human boy” If I had cushioned His fall, I’d have been disobeying the Father.
“Michael, I couldn’t do that. The Father told me…”
“Never mind!” Michael walked behind his desk, and picked up several papers. “I’ll find someone else to take care of Him. Somebody who knows what he’s doing!”
We fell on our knees as The Father’s deep, bass voice reverberated throughout the heavens. “Angelo is doing a fine job. He cannot protect My Son from such things. That is Mary and Joseph’s job. Angelo, go back and protect My Son as I instructed you.”
When I got back, I heard Jesus giggling. Mary was dabbing His knee with a cold, wet cloth with one hand and tickling Him just below His ribs with the other.
“Allll better,” she said.
Miriam raised her shoulders, and smiled when I looked at her.
“Allll better.” Jesus reached up to hug her.
Mary hugged Him back, and kissed His cheek. She looked at His knee and her eyes widened. The wound had already disappeared, as if He had never fallen and hurt Himself. Her mouth dropped open, and a furrow deepened between her eyebrows. She stared at both of His knees for a few moments, before she smiled and kissed Him again.
“Okay then. Go play with Judas and Rebecca. I have work to do in the house.” Mary put Him down and patted His behind in the direction of the other children.
She smiled as she watched the funny way he waved His arms and bounced up and down like all the other children His age as He ran down the narrow, half pebble, half dirt street toward His friends at the town square. She waited until He reached Judas and started to play with the ball one of the neighbors had made for the children before she went back into the house.
Stephen walked with me as we followed Jesus to His friends. “Michael was pretty angry. Everything all right?” he asked.
“Yes, he just doesn’t understand the assignment,” I said.
“None of us do.” Stephen nodded. “But we’re all rooting for you. The Father wouldn’t have put you in this job if you weren’t the right angel for it.”
“Did you know Jesus still sees me, and we even talk once in a while?” I glanced at Stephen and smiled. “He calls me His friend. What could be better than that?”
“I’d better be getting back.” Stephen raised his eyes, paused and looked at me. “Try to keep out of trouble with Michael!” he teased as he raised his eyes again and disappeared.