Summary: What is the hurry to pack away the creche and baby Jesus? Lets leave him out as a reminder of the great joy of the Christmas season.
Matthew 2: 13-15
An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
Christmas as we know it is over. Most of us are now thinking about restoring order and packing away the ornaments and symbols of the season. We are rearranging things and figuring out where to fit the Christmas presents into our décor or closets. It is amazing how many people organize the house, even the closets, and their desk at this time of year.
The weeks after Christmas seem to have developed into a national “season of getting organized.” Stores will have big sales on bins, crates and a multitude of storage boxes. When I walk into Walmart over the next few weeks, I am sure I will once again be greeted by towering displays of plastic storage containers. Lowe’s will have extra large Rubbermaid bins for only $2.97.
I find this organizing mania immediately following Christmas interesting. I wonder if it is an effort to pack away all of our feelings around the season, be they good, bad, or even sad feelings.
The packing and organizing seems to be an effort to wrap up the fragile stuff of our lives that we confronted, to sweep the dust of the season under the bed, to stow away the part of us that heard the message and cries out.
We put a lot of energy into packing up and removing from our lives the great truth: A new light has been born in our hearts and we have hope for a better life to come here on earth.
We pack away the manger and the baby Jesus. And as we do, we become a lot like King Herod, in our scripture for today.
We read that Herod is not happy about the arrival of Jesus. His kingdom was potentially changed forever by the birth of this baby. His comfort zone was threatened. He did not want the world to change. He needed to get Jesus rid of Jesus, to put Him away
Herod did not have Rubbermaid boxes or a garage to put Jesus in, so Herod ordered him killed.
What an irony—the light of the world has just arrived and the darkness immediately seeks to extinguish that flame. The divine event is greeted with horrific violence as 1000s of babies are killed.
However, we are also like the Holy Family in the Scripture today. Mary and Joseph follow a message from God to get the baby out of Bethlehem when they flee to Egypt.
We flee too at this time of year. We forget the message of Christmas. We sometimes run from the chance for a changed life
We flee from the moment in time this Christmas when we actually felt the touch of God
Even though we may not really like the status quo that much, it is known, maybe even comfortable. We continue to return to our comfort zone as we pack away the crèche and the little baby Jesus.
Well, this year can be different. We do not have to pack away Jesus. Did you find yourself touched by the new light that entered the world? Did you have a distant feeling that this year would be better? You may have felt here in church or at home with family and friends, that God touched your heart in a new way.
You may have been shopping this year and saw a kind face that smiled and made you feel good again. You may have reconnected with an old friend or lost family member.
Lets be RADICAL this year. When we pack away the crèche, lets leave Jesus unwrapped. Let us leave out a reminder of all the season promised to us: Peace on earth, Joy to the world, Justice for all.
Let us RESPOND to the message, the good will, and the glad tidings. Let us continue the journey with Jesus. Let us continue to follow the story as the Holy family travels into and out of Egypt
Remember how the scripture for today ends:
“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."
Let us take the road OUT of Egypt for that is why He came. To lead us out of bondage to indifference and self-centeredness, out of the pain and sorrow that enslaves us, out of an unjust way of living.