French artist Eugene-Alexis Giradet’s inspiration for the art on the cover comes from the second chapter of Matthew in which Mary and Joseph, out of fear for the life of their newborn son, flee to Egypt.
Perhaps the artist imagined Joseph, Mary, and the baby leaving Bethlehem in the darkness of night and traveling for some time on rough ground. In Flight to Egypt, Giradet captures the moment when the sun appears on the horizon after a difficult night’s journey. Bright yellows touch the higher landscapes while the valleys and villages are barely visible in the still sleeping shades of pink and tan. The family, traveling on a high ridge, catches a glimpse of morning light. It shines through Mary’s veil, illuminating her face and the infant Jesus. Long shadows fall along the feet and staff of Joseph, but he looks toward the dawning sky. I can almost feel Joseph’s sense of relief in the warmth and hope that came with the morning sun.
While our eyes are drawn to Mary and her baby, I have to wonder about Joseph. We remember Joseph as a man of amazing faith and obedience to God. But what must his family and friends have thought of him? He is taking Mary and their newborn son on an eighty-mile journey because of some dream he had? He just gets up in the middle of the night and takes off to Egypt? What is he thinking?
For Joseph, it seems to be about obedience. Joseph trusted God and did what God asked him to do. What about us today? Are we the ones asking, What is he thinking? What is she doing? Or are we the Josephs in the story, doing what God asks us even when we don’t understand it at the time? Like Joseph, we too can find reassurance in the dawning of God’s light and direction.
Prints of cover art are not available from Upper Room Ministries®.
"Thank you for the creative teams [of The Upper Room] who are working together to share the power of prayer around the world. You have collaborated with everyone working from our homes to share the gifts of hope, love, grace, and peace." (Written in response to The Upper Room COVID-19 response efforts). View Jaqui's video contribution to the initiative, helping us create space and time for God in these anxious times.