When they 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.”
My mother texted me this week after having taken Daddy to his first chemo/radiation appointment and said “Tommy, this is so scary to me, and it’s hard to keep Daddy from seeing my fear. Yes, I have faith that he will be cured, so why am I still so scared this Christmas?”
A young mother and father sit and gaze at their infant baby boy who has been heralded by shepherds, wise men from the East, and by the very angels from Heaven itself as the Messiah, Savior, the Prince of Peace. Their steady focus is on the infant Jesus. How could anything in the world distract them from the wonder, the power, the sheer joy of this moment? And yet, another visit by the angel. This time, the message is that they must flee because Herod seeks to kill their child. They flee.
We want to keep our eyes upon Jesus this Christmas and to express and abide in His love. Yet we can’t escape the reality that just beyond that moment of peace with Christ, lies that which produces pain, disappointment, and fear. How do we flee from or fight the powers that seek to destroy God’s plan and presence in our lives without losing our connection to Him and to others? How do we deal with the “Herod” realities of life this Christmas?
This story in Matthew, as well as the whole of scripture itself, teaches us these following truths:
- God is not moved nor is He frightened by evil people
- God’s plans cannot be thwarted by others who would seek to undermine
- God’s loving will for me is not shaken by adverse circumstances in my life
- God’s light and comfort is often revealed in the depth of our trials
- God fulfills His plans even though we may feel hopeless
- God’s timing is perfect
Read them out loud. Post them on your mirror or by your bedside. Send them to yourself in an email and/or record them on your cell phone and play them while you drive. These are TRUTH.
What I want this Christmas, God, is the ability to acknowledge the difficult realities that I may face while never losing sight of your faithfulness to me, your love for me, and the wonderful plan that you are fulfilling in my life. BRING ON THE ANGEL!
By Tom Sanco