ANGEL OF WARNING
All too quickly, the party is over. We are back to the reality of the world, with all of its fear, jealousy, hatred, deceit, greed, and lust for power. And so we encounter the angel of warning, the one who comes to Joseph in a dream.
Light the Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, Angel and Christ Candles.
Matthew 2:13-16 (NRSV)
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men.
Where is the peace in this angel story? At this point, we can imagine Mary and Joseph crying, “Are you kidding us, God? Could our lives be any more difficult?” Mary’s pregnancy wasn’t at a convenient time. Jesus’ birth wasn’t in the best circumstances. Now they must flee to Egypt… and Herod kills innocent babies. The angel of warning is able to protect Jesus from Herod, but we know the rest of the story. Jesus would one day suffer and die under the command of another terrible ruler.
Life will be difficult. Jesus’ life was difficult from the start. In this we find our peace: Jesus has gone through much worse than any of our difficult times. Jesus has suffered. Jesus has endured. He has “been there, done that” to a much greater extent than we can fathom. And Jesus is with us now. Jesus is accompanying us on our journeys, whether difficult or joyful. We are not alone. Ever. We have one who completely understands our plight and offers us all we need to get through it. Jesus is our Presence of Peace. In all circumstances.
Prayer: Jesus, our source of constant peace, we are so very sorry for all that you endured to show your love for us. But we are so very thankful. Amen.