special provision. They returned to Nazareth and there resumed the life that had been so rudely and fantastically interrupted. The child grew up in the common home of a village carpenter, rated at that time as the least important member of a village community. There was no money to make any particular provision. The gifts of the Magi had enabled them to take that expensive Egyptian journey, but now that was all spent, and the family was dependent upon Joseph's scanty wage. Their difficulties were increased by the need for providing for brothers and sisters of Jesus, who came in a steady stream until they numbered seven or eight. From every point of view it was a hard struggle, and the Almighty seemed strangely unconcerned.
There was also the very real difficulty connected with Jesus' birth. They hardly knew how to speak of it. After the preliminary excitement of the first months in Judea and Egypt was over they were obliged to come back to the very different atmosphere of Nazareth, a village noted for the debased condition of its inhabitants. No angelic hosts here, no prophecies from noted saints in the Temple! Only the steady round of an ungodly village with a nose for scandal. However the difficulty solved itself one day. A neighbour who happened to look in remarked that Jesus grew more like his father every day. The time for the truth was on them like a flash—and as quickly passed by.
Before the disavowal—"But he is God's son, not Joseph's"—was made, the neighbour had taken her way, and the village understood that Joseph did not deny paternity The little scandal was soon forgotten in a fresh nine-days' wonder, and Jesus bar-Joseph took his place in the life of Nazareth, as one born before he should have been. For if Jesus was not illegitimate, he was God—and who could believe that in Nazareth?