On Dec. 29, Pastor Katy preaches on Matthew 2:13-23.
13 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.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 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.”
16 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. 17 Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 20 “Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.” 21 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And after being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. 23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”
Jesus is born! A bit of time has passed, perhaps a couple of years, and that pesky angel has returned to Joseph in another dream. It wasn’t enough that Joseph was told to marry his pregnant fiancée and raise her son, but now that angel is telling Joseph that they have to flee to Egypt because Herod is out to kill his new son! Unlike what most of us would do, Joseph doesn’t wake up and tell Mary about his weird dream or try to remember what he had eaten for dinner to make a mental note of crossing it off the “late night snack” list. Matthew tells us that Joseph simply obeys.
As we prepare to bid 2019 farewell and step into our own 2020, we face unknown journeys of our own. Our country will be electing the next president, our United Methodist denomination is waist high in the messy unknown, Oak Hill UMC is feeling a shift as the congregational survey prepares to come out, and each of us is on a personal journey as unique as each traveler. Like the Holy Family’s flight to and return from Egypt, there is no map for us either. It is into the great unknown where we often don’t even know the final destination, and it is all that we can do to step faithfully today.