“There’s no place like home,” said Dorothy. Was she right?
Off To London
In 1958, my Air Force Dad received orders for England, so off we went, me, mom and my two brothers. We lived there for about four years. It was wonderful, I’m told, as I don’t really remember much. But then the time came to return to the states. We were very excited, for like Dorothy, there was no place like home.
Jesus In Egypt
Nazareth was Mary and Joseph’s ancestral home, and would ultimately be Jesus’ home too. But at his birth, and for a while, the young Messiah had no home but Egypt. His birth threatened King Herod and Herod tolerated no threats to his crown. Failing to find and finish the infant king of the Jews, he had the male children of Bethlehem, age two and under, put to death. Joseph and Mary escaped to Egypt, to flee Herod’s villainy.
But Egypt, Really?
The challenge was that Egypt was full of Egyptians, not Jews, not Abraham’s descendants. Although there were probably some Jews living there.
How did Joseph make a living? Did he find work in the Arab community? Was there a Synagogue? How about Passover and Pentecost? Scripture doesn’t say but I can’t imagine them going back to Jerusalem for the feasts. So they lived in isolation, hiding from Herod. Can you imagine knowing there are people, at the highest levels of government, committed to murdering your child?
How did they manage? It had to be hard and disheartening.
The Greater Good
But there was divine purpose for the young Messiah. So thank God for Egypt, for there our savior survived. The world needed him to die, but not as an infant, and not in Egypt or Bethlehem.
The beating heart of Christmas is that Emmanuel came near. God came to help and he came as an infant. Good people loved and protected him. For it would do us little good to murder the Messiah within hours of his arrival.
At his birth, the Messiah didn’t have a home, nor did he have one at his death. Yet he came to give us new birth and take away our fear of death. He came to take us home.
Dorothy was right. There really is no place like home.