Now after the wise men 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.”
Trying to kill Jesus, Herod the Great killed all the children two years old and younger. But warned in a dream, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus escaped to Egypt.
What a brutal and disturbing story for any time, let alone Christmas. It echoes the story of Moses’ birth: the Pharaoh of Egypt killed Israelite children. The faith, courage, and defiance of his mother and midwives saved Moses, who, led by God, would later lead Israel to freedom. Matthew portrays Jesus as a toddler as the New Moses.
The gospel also reveals God’s presence and providence in dangerous and turbulent times and God’s victory over vindictive leaders and nations’ violent pursuit of greatness. God is not a puppet-master in full control of history and people. Instead, God’s influence is from the inside out--in vulnerable flesh and blood and in human dreams and courage and faith. Jesus lives, even after the worst humans could do. And because Christ lives, we all shall live, including all innocent children.
Where are you finding God’s guidance, protection, and hope? Take a moment with God to celebrate the greater gifts of Christmas and to consider who God is calling you to be.