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Nine Lessons for Christmas
6. The Flight to Egypt
reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew.
When they had departed,
behold, the angel of the Lord
appeared to Joseph in a dream and said,
“Rise, take the child and his
flee to Egypt, and
stay there until I tell you.
Herod is going to search
for the child to destroy him.”
Joseph rose and took the child
and his mother by night
and departed for Egypt.
He stayed there until the death
that what the Lord had said
through the prophet might be fulfilled,
“Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Jesus’ trip to Egypt recalls the exodus
experience of the Israelites
Egypt was a traditional place of
refuge for those fleeing from danger in Palestine (see 1 Kings
11:40; Jeremiah 26:21), but the main reason why the child is to be taken
to Egypt is that he may relive the Exodus experience of Israel.
The fulfillment citation (“Out
of Egypt I called my son”) is taken from the book of the prophet Hosea
(11:1). Israel, God’s son, was called out of Egypt at the time of the
Exodus; Jesus, the Son of God, will similarly be called out of that land in a
The father-son relationship
between God and the nation is set in a higher key. Here the son is not a
group adopted as “son of God,” but the child who, as conceived by the holy
Spirit, stands in unique relation to God. He is son of David and of
Abraham, of Mary and of Joseph, but, above all, of God.
O God, whose mighty Son was
born in Bethlehem those days long ago, lead us to that same poor place, where
Mary laid her tiny Child. And as we look on in wonder and praise, make us
welcome him in all new life, see him in the poor, and care for his handiwork
the earth, the sky, and the sea. O God, bless us again
in your great love. We pray for this through Christ our Lord.