2019 Advent Devotional – Day 22


Matthew 2:13-15Joseph, Mary and Jesus escaped to Egypt

Now after they 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 fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

Shine - Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

It seems that in Matthew’s Nativity malevolent forces are never far away. The joy of the wise men was offset by the fear and hostility of Herod, and now no sooner had Jesus received the gifts and adoration of the wise men, than the Holy Family were compelled to flee in fear of their lives. The events convey a dark and unsettling feeling. Matthew is clear: Jesus was not born into a world of peace and goodwill, but one of darkness and danger. 

Yet throughout it all, God spoke into the world and protected Jesus and his family. Just as an angel reassured Joseph at the outset of Mary’s pregnancy and guided the wise men on their journey, here an angel again warned Joseph of looming danger. Obedient to the angel’s words, the family escaped to Egypt and were protected from the violence of Herod.

The world Matthew depicted is reminiscent of the troubles we face today. We too live in times of darkness and danger, surrounded by foreboding and hostility. This makes it all the more important to remember and affirm that God’s love protects us also. 

God is by our side whenever we encounter difficulties and while we may not be delivered entirely from pain or sorrow, we are always saved from facing these times alone. God promises to be with us and never to leave us. It is a promise he kept with the Holy Family and a promise he keeps for us today.

Safe-guarding God,
Your promise to be with me is an incomparable gift. Through your grace, I am protected from fear and despair. Through faith, you give me hope, you grant me peace, and bring me reassurance. Thank you for comforting and sustaining me whenever I face periods of darkness in my life. Guide me safely onwards, protected by your love. Amen.

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

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