Matthew 2: 13-15 19-23
After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”
Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.”
Later, when Herod died, God’s angel appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt: “Up, take the child and his mother and return to Israel. All those out to murder the child are dead.”
Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother, and re-entered Israel. When he heard, though, that Archelaus had succeeded his father, Herod, as king in Judea, he was afraid to go there. But then Joseph was directed in a dream to go to the hills of Galilee. On arrival, he settled in the village of Nazareth. This move was a fulfilment of the prophetic words, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
In the days after a birth – a new reality begins to emerge. The realisation that even if you have planned with military precision how this child will fit into your life – you have already been thwarted. Life changes life – Love changes it more. Love has no desire to live in isolation. Love holds your hand if you invite Her or stands watchful in the shadows if you don’t. Love is Love.
The Octave of Christmas teaches us so much about Love – the humility of God’s Love; the courage of Mary and Joseph; the persistence of the Shepherds and the conviction of the Magi.
On his day Stephen taught us that Love is for others; on his, John told us that there is nothing else. Today we learn that Love is feared by Power and that, in fear, Power will try to defeat it.
Many years from now Jesus will stand in chains in front of Pontius Pilate and tell him that he has no Power over him. And for that Jesus will die. But Love will live.