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 remains 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.”Matthew 2:13-15
Jesus was effectively homeless for a while as a result of the Holy Family’s flight to Egypt. From an early age, the son of Man had nowhere to lay his head, and from this we are also reminded that, like Christ, “We have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Hebrews 13:14). We are all rootless without God, and, even as his followers, we wander on our pilgrimage until we reach our heavenly home.
This time of year can often seem like a bit of a no-man’s land where we might feel a bit aimless. The fun of opening presents behind us and Christmas decorations starting to look a little less festive around the house, we start to turn our attention to the new year. In our house the excitement of some of the new toys has worn off and we’re having conversations about tidying up and finding new homes for things.
Perhaps we feel a little lost too and wish for a clearer view of what home is for us. Maybe celebrations have been modified this year to include fewer relatives; or maybe you didn’t change a thing. Maybe the interactions you had with relatives and loved ones had you feeling enveloped in love’s embrace; or maybe you were reminded of hurts past and present. Regardless, we sing our praise of a God who came to us and would go with us at all times.
God’s coming to us in real flesh and blood, a babe in a manger, reminds us that God’s presence is true and real. No matter our feelings of alienation, we are guided on our pilgrimage through life by our God who, rather than asking us to reach toward heaven, would come among us and be planted in our hearts.
As we walk through the upcoming ending and beginning, let us continue to celebrate the miracle of God’s true presence. We’ll sing our songs of joy, love, peace, and hope for a world changed by the love of God. We’ll walk together with our sisters and brothers, sharing the love of God in the form of loving service. And as we sing and walk together we may notice that, though we may feel restless and without a true home, we are changed into bringers of God’s good news of love and grace for all.