This is part 3 in a series counting down to the night of his birth.
In 1958, my Air Force Dad was sent to Great Britain, so off we went to merry old England. It was wonderful. But the time came to go back, and when we did, it was to the states, because there’s no place like home.
The Messiah didn’t have a home. At least not at his birth, since he and his parents were soon on the run. His birth threatened King Herod, and Herod tolerated no rivals. Having failed to find and kill the infant king, he had the little boys of Bethlehem murdered. But Joseph and Mary were warned; they escaped to Egypt and to freedom from Herod’s murderous intent.
But Egypt? Really? It was a huge country and filled with people not Jewish. How did Joseph make a living? Did he find work in the Arab community? Was there a Synagogue? How about Passover and Pentecost? Undoubtedly, they didn’t travel back for the feasts. They lived in isolation.
I’ve wondered how they managed, going from Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt. It had to be disheartening. Imagine people, at the highest levels of government, committed to killing your child.”Kill him while he’s young; end it now, end it forever.” That was Herod’s perspective. But there existed a divine purpose for the young Messiah. Thank God for it, and thank God for Egypt, for there our savior survived.
The world needed him to survive, to grow up, and to begin his ministry. The world needed him to set his face towards Jerusalem, to die on the cross and be resurrected. The world needed him to ascend, and to send the Holy Spirit, poured out on all mankind. The world needed a lot.
For us, his birth is beautiful and marks a holy holiday. But the true beating heart of Christmas is that our God came near, and came as an infant. Good and Godly people loved and cared for Jesus, protecting him from evil. For it would do the world little good for the Messiah to be murdered within hours of his birth. Jesus would have his destiny with death, but it wasn’t that night.
The Messiah didn’t have a home when he was born, and he didn’t have a home when he died. And yet he died to take us home.
For the believer, there really is no place like home.