“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’” – Matthew 2:13
I love hope, don’t you? And one of the times of year that we always think about with more hope than other times is Christmas and New Years.
It’s like, no matter what happened during the year, we look at that time of year as the time when we can leave the old year behind and enjoy the hope of a new year being born, even as we remember Jesus being born into the world to give us hope for salvation.
But a lot of us maybe don’t see the things we hoped for at the beginning of the year, do we? Or they don’t happen quite the way we thought they would. And I just want to be real with you today and show you that this is exactly how it was for Mary, Joseph, and Jesus during that first Christmas.
See, after the rough start of having to deliver Jesus in the ancient equivalent of a dirty garage, things had perked up. Shepherds showed up with stories of angels, and then wise men came with regal gifts that would have certainly been a blessing and encouragement to that poor family.
But the very night that the wise men left, God changed whatever plans they might have had. “Go to Egypt,” He said, “because Herod wants to kill your baby.” Now that’s some hopeful news, don’t you think?
It gets even better. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus all escape, but Herod sends his army to Bethlehem and kills all boys age two and under. Merry Christmas, right?
Years go by and God speaks to Joseph in another dream, saying that it’s safe to go back home. Awesome, except that when they get home, they find out that Herod’s son is on the throne and God tells them again that home—Judea—can’t be home; they need to go to Galilee, to Nazareth. Good news. Welcome home—to a place you’ve never lived before.
See, this was no time to lose one’s hope, no time to misplace it as if it got packed up in some box and put into storage. No, they needed it now more than ever. But the good news is this, they didn’t misplace it. They didn’t lose it.
My heart and prayer for you right now with all genuineness, in all that is going on in your life, I am praying you have not misplaced yours.
Thank You for this reminder to hold on to my hope! Thank You for lifting my eyes off of my circumstances enough to see how You have been faithful before. I put my hope in You, knowing that You will always be faithful to me!