There seems to be a wide variety of celebratory days for the week following Christmas. I guess having Christmas on a weekend, and a Sunday no less, tends to bunch up the occasions. So I am left with the task of which to choose. Should it be a “normal” Sunday? That would mean we look at Isaiah 63, Psalm 148, Hebrews 2 and Matthew 2. If I choose Holy Name of Jesus day we would look at Numbers 6, Psalm 8, Galatians 4 and Luke 2. And if I choose New Year’s Day that would mean Ecclesiastes 3, Psalm 8 (again), Revelation 21 and Matthew 25. The different choices whirled around in my head!
What seemed evident beyond a doubt was that I was going to need more days! So, I decided I was just write a lot, filling days between Christmas and New Year’s Day, picking passages that seemed to fit well and carry us into the New Year.
“Now after they [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, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” (Matthew 2: 13-15)
I decided for today we would continue the story of Jesus’ birth. After my recent admission [see December 20, 2016 ] that prophecy from the Old Testament really can point toward happenings in the New Testament I am content to let stand that God’s son was called out of Egypt.
This was not the first time that Joseph was given guidance and direction. When he found out Mary was pregnant, and not by him, he thought to quietly just not marry. But a dream and an angel let him know to proceed with their plans. That Mary was pure and innocent, and being used by God for a fantastic purpose. Praise God that Joseph was open to receiving Divine guidance and direction.
“When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” (Verses 16 – 18)
Again, with this prophecy from the Old Testament being fulfilled in the New Testament! But what is a person to do? The Christmas season is filled with prophecy fulfilled. God’s plan is being carried forth. But . . . in a unique way!
“When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said,
“Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.” (Verses 19 – 23)
And again, Joseph is instructed by a dream and an angel – seems to be quite a pattern. I have to wonder if that was a pattern and a blessing that Joseph had all of his life. That would be quite a benefit in parenting; especially a Son of the Divine. Or perhaps it was exactly Joseph’s being open to hearing God and angels of God that made him qualified to raise Jesus. Sounds like God was doing some prep work for the coming of baby Jesus, designing a family where Jesus would be nurtured from infancy on up.
What I take from all this is (besides prophecy does come true and what is spoken in one context can fit in another) that if we are unsure of what to do or if calamity surrounds us, or if there are many options and we are not sure what to do – all we need to do is look to God. And actually, on the day I sat down to write this, that was a message I needed to hear and take into my heart! How’s that for scripture from long ago informing our present!! Selah!