Matthew 2:13 – When [the Magi] had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." (NIV)
The situation in the world today where so many people are fleeing for their lives from war and terrorism, searching for a safe home, reminds me of Jesus' family fleeing for their lives to Egypt in ancient times. Jesus was born and placed in a manger, but that was no safe home, as Herod was already looking for the Baby to kill Him. Jesus' parents fled to Egypt looking for a safe home. In many countries today, people are treated with so much disrespect that they are afraid and flee. What does God think of the present situation? We get a clue from the fact that God supported Joseph and his family in their flight to Egypt.
What does all this say to us this Christmas? Many of us fear for our safety today, as the long arm of terrorism threatens our own communities. Where has that safe kind of community gone, where neighbours care about each other? Unfortunately, working people today have little time for God or neighbour. Even in some churches, where we expect to find helpful friends, there is no love or support. People around us, and even we ourselves, care only about themselves — we're so busy trying to make ends meet. Few still look to God for their safe home. This can be a sad Christmas for many as they look for a safe home and for people to love and help them.
The shepherds back then also had no safe home, when they were living in the fields watching their sheep, exposed to the elements and wild animals. They did not have a loving community around them, but they found Jesus in the manger, and their hearts were at home as they worshipped the Christ Child. Are we also transients running away from danger, looking for a safe place to stay? Are we searching for the Christ Child because our lives are empty and Christmas feels empty? No hope? No love? Do we know people like that? We need to pray that they will find a helpful community where love and support are evident. We need to pray for all those running far away looking for a safe home. God knows the way to that home, and moreover, He leads us forward towards our spiritual home with Him.
As we kneel and celebrate the birth of Jesus, we pray for all who have no safe home today. May the Lord be with them as they look for safety and for people who care. May our own homes be safe places where Jesus' love and faithful caring is evident to all who seek Him and know Him.
Prayer: Lord, show us how to open our lives and our homes to those in need of Your love and caring. As You stay with us, Lord, we acknowledge that in Your presence there is strength for the transient, and that we can make room for those in need. May we share Your love with the people who have no safe home. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Go Tell It On The Mountain" (Lyrics)