Wednesday, 01 February 2023

First Lutheran Corner: The Dreams of Christmas – Joseph dreams of safety in Egypt

“When they had gone, 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." – Matthew 2:13

The holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's, it's the busiest travel season of the year.

In the next couple of days, if you haven't already heard it, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is going to be played on the radio, over and over and over.

Ironically, the Gospel accounts of the birth and early childhood of Jesus are busy with travel too.

There's Mary's trip to visit her cousin Elizabeth, then the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. The Wise Men travel hundreds of miles from Persia to find the Christ Child and worship him.

Then, in today's lesson, the Holy Family are once again on the road, this time traveling to Egypt to escape the murderous plan of Herod to kill Jesus.

In a few months, they'll be traveling back to Bethlehem, and from Bethlehem on to Nazareth, where Jesus will grow up. That's a lot of frequent donkey miles, or camel miles, depending on the mode of transportation.

Interestingly, each of those journeys begins with a dream.

Herod had his spies and informers, but Joseph had only dreams, and Scripture to confirm them. But his dreams weren't necessarily the happy kind. The one we consider today was a nightmare.

There had been happy moments, to be sure. Holding baby Jesus on the day of his birth was one. The welcome given the child by the shepherds was another. And, of course, there was the visit of the Magi who bowed in worship and presented their gifts.

Herod's threat against the life of Jesus was revealed to Joseph in a dream. Though settled into their home in Bethlehem, probably intending to spend their lives there, the Holy Family was forced to flee in the middle of the night to Egypt to escape the sword of Herod.

Meanwhile, King Herod is slaughtering the male babies in Bethlehem, 2 years of age and under, and maybe his troops are after Jesus.

I would guess that Mary personally knew the mothers and the names of the babies that died. They probably chatted together as they drew water, washed clothes or bought food from the merchants. I wonder if she felt guilty that her child was being spared while others weren't.

As he got older, the population yearned for the day Herod would die. On his deathbed he ordered thousands of the most prominent citizens of his realm taken to the Hippodrome and executed them. That way there'd be weeping on the day he died. Fortunately, the order was not carried out.

Joseph's visions in the night were not visions of "sugarplums" dancing in his head. Thank God they weren't. They were dreams of warning that he heeded, so that you and I would have a Savior in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Please join us at First Lutheran Church to hear the full story of Joseph’s dream and the hasty trip to Egypt this Sunday. Worship is at 11 a.m. with lunch immediately following.

This Sunday is Food Cupboard Sunday so if you are in need of perishable and/or nonperishable foods, please join us at 1 p.m.

All people are welcome so come as you are.

Chris DelCol is pastor of First Lutheran Church in Lucerne, Calif. The church is located at 3863 Country Club Drive, telephone 707-274-5572. Email Pastor Chris at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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02.01.2023 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
East Region Town Hall
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