The scripture reading today is Matthew 2:14, NRSV.
“Then Joseph got up, took the child and His mother by night, and went to Egypt, . . . “
Immanuel—God with Everybody
Now after [the three Magi] had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy Him.’ (2:13)
On the fourth day of Christmas, we don’t want to get news like this, even from an angel! We’d rather receive four calling birds from our ‘true love’, along with another three French hens, another two turtle doves, and another partridge in a pear tree. As you have sung the old “12 Days of Christmas” carol, did you ever total up and discover that you would end up with: 12 partridges, 22 doves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, and so forth? Who has room for 364 gifts? Why would your ‘true love’ do that to you, unless you already own a farm, a large hotel, and a safe deposit box?
All this to say that: life is always more complicated and problematic than we would wish. One baby survives, and others die. Three old Arabs are wonder-struck and helpful, and another is power hungry and genocidal. We will never know why this is. But we do know that the holy child of Bethlehem came to be with and for everyone. Even Herod. Even Judas. Even all who have opposed and betrayed and crucified Him for 2019 years now.
And even should you have to ‘flee to Egypt’ someday, He will be with you there.
Dear Jesus, we hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell, and also the dire warnings. Oh, come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel. Amen.
Pastor Jim firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: Those who work to protect children