2019 Advent Devotional – Day 24


Matthew 2:19-21 – Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt

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.

Lament - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Surprisingly perhaps, but the culmination of Matthew’s Nativity is not the birth of Jesus itself, significant as that may be. In Matthew’s account, we learn instead more of the details of God watching over Jesus and guiding him and his family from his earliest days. 

Today we read that, though the Holy Family escaped to Egypt to survive, God’s plan was not for Jesus to live in Egypt. As the Saviour for the people of Israel, Jesus was to live in the land of Israel, and so when the danger posed by Herod had passed, the Holy Family were led to return. 

Angels take different forms in our lives today—they’re more likely to appear in an email than a dream—but they are still as present now as they were for Joseph. Perhaps we’ve lost the habit of looking for them, or worry that it’s delusional or self-centred to believe that God would be speaking to us. 

Except this is part of God’s promise to us: that God is with us now and is here for us today; and that God will guide us in our journey through life. It is a wondrous gift indeed.

Caring God,
Thank you for being present in the world and guiding me through life. Help me to recognize your direction for me, and to become more aware of the ways you speak to me today. Keep my mind and heart open to you. Help me listen to you more closely and follow you more nearly. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2020.

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