Tuesday

‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt.' (v. 13)

Matthew 2:13-18 Tuesday 28 December 2021

Psalm 124

Background

The account of the birth of Jesus features several dark strands: potential damage to a woman's reputation, poverty, and homelessness; yet these are all subsumed and transformed into good news. The singing of the angelic choir telling of Christ's birth takes these areas of darkness and affirms the inclusion and welcome of God.  It reminds us that no-one is beyond the reach of the love of God.

This passage introduces yet another dark strand, in which the life of Jesus is threatened by the jealousy of Herod. Mary and Joseph must flee to Egypt taking Jesus with them. The family of Jesus become rootless refugees.

 I am mindful of refugees crossing the Channel in small boats, seeking safety but facing the possibility of death as they do so. I feel ashamed that the rootless and vulnerable are unwelcome and seen as a threat in our land. Mary, Joseph and Jesus found a place of safety in Egypt.

After the death of Herod, the family return to Nazareth and to ordinary life. Being rootless was only a temporary phase of their life, yet one where there would be risk and uncertainty. It is unsettling and difficult to leave the familiar place and travel with nothing. Mary and Joseph could only take those things that they, and  possibly a donkey, could carry. They were able to make the journey because they trusted in God who was with them at every key point.

 

To Ponder:

  • When we look at the refugees and the rootless who wish to come to a place of safety, what do we see? The presence of Christ or some sort of enemy? How can we know the difference?
  •  Many of us no longer live in the place where we grew up. What has helped us develop a sense of belonging in our new place and how have we made new roots?
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