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Nine Lessons for Christmas


6.     The Flight to Egypt

A drawing of two people

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A 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 mother,

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 of Herod,

that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled,

“Out of Egypt I called my son.”


                                                                                                                                                                                                                               MT 2:13-15




Lesson 6


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 new exodus.  


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.