FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY
SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS – YEAR A
6-9 year olds
In the Gospel reading this Sunday, we hear about Joseph taking his family away from their home country of Israel when it is no longer safe for them to stay. They travel to Egypt, a country far away from the forces that want to harm Jesus. The little family stays there until it is safe for them to return to Israel, and settle in Nazareth, a safe town away from danger, where Jesus can grow up in safety.
Did you notice Joseph's dreams? Each time, when the angel speaks, how does Joseph respond?
In the first dream, the angel says:
"“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.”"
"Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod."
In the second dream, the angel says:
"“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.”"
"Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel."
The angel lets Joseph know what God wants. Does Joseph do anything other than what God wants? He listens and obeys God’s will completely. Can we say, then, that Joseph helps in God’s Plan for Jesus? He is extremely important! God needs him! I don't like to imagine what could have happened if Joseph did not listen to God.
Did you also notice the time of day they travel from Bethlehem? Remember, this is before electricity. There are no street lamps to light the way. It would be very dangerous. Is anyone watching over them? So many years before Jesus was even born, God had promised,
"the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light." (Isaiah 9:2)
Mary and Joseph are carrying this light with them, to Egypt and back again to Israel. Of course God’s loving protection surrounds them. But I wonder if you would agree that there are many people who help God with this plan, who help provide that loving protection.
People who help Joseph find the road to Egypt.
People who make sure they are safe on that road, not attacked by bandits.
People who help them find food and shelter along the way.
People who let them into the foreign country of Egypt.
People who give Joseph work in Egypt so that he can feed his family.
People who make room for this family on the run from danger.
People who welcome the strange family into their lives.
When Jesus is just a baby, who are all the people who help to protect this light so that one day, it will become the Risen Light to spread to all people?
I wonder, who carries and protects the Light of Jesus today?