Flight into Egypt and Slaughter of the Innocents

Text: Matthew 2:13-23

Reflection and Question: These last parts of Matthew’s telling of the Christmas story are usually left out. No wonder. Joseph’s dream, warning him to carry his family out of harm’s way, does save Jesus from the horrific violence sent by Herod to Bethlehem to protect himself from a possible rival. Here we cannot escape the oppressive political climate in which Jesus grew up, nor can we miss the parallels between Jesus and Moses who both fulfill the prophecy in Hosea 11:1 and sojourned in Egypt for a time. When you add these parts to the story do you see the Christmas pageant differently?

Prayer: Beloved Jesus, we give thanks that You were spared the deadly end of Your kindred in Bethlehem. With You, we join in lament for the mothers and children who, this day, suffer and die at the hands of remote powers or heartless tyrants. Amen.

This meditation is based on the Daily Lectionary Year 1 from the Book of Common Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (1993).