“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.’” (Matthew 2:13)
Think how strange it must have been for Mary and Joseph to know they were parenting God’s own son, but that life wasn’t any easier because of it. To be given such a huge responsibility and privilege, but no guarantees? To be visited by an angel one minute, and fleeing for your life the next? The hope, I think, is that God so much wanted to go through life with us that he sent Jesus who experienced the difficulties of life, in many ways more traumatically than most of us do. He loves us, and was born so that we can know that He is with us. When our parents fight or even divorce; when our friends move; when jobs become stressful; when cancer wins; when loneliness abounds – that’s when God is Immanuel, with us. We are not alone when things seem to be falling apart. We are loved by the One who was born in a barn, raised on the run, killed on a cross, and redeemed from the dead. We are accompanied by One who understands. Thank God for the gift of His Son.
How would you feel about the need to escape if you were Mary or Joseph?