After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
The Flight to Egypt
Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, 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.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
The beginning leaves me thinking that the star which started them on their way had led them to Jerusalem but stopped before they got there. It seems to me that some how or other Herod needs to be involved in the story and they went to the place where you expect the new-born king to be. Then, having found out what they needed to know, and Herod now being in the picture, the star shines again and takes them to the right house.
‘They rejoiced exceedingly with great joy’; ‘they fell down and worshiped him’; ‘they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh’. It isn’t surprising that they did all this if they believed their trip as having been initiated by the heavens, this Babe to be a gift from God and thus to be honoured. Sometimes when Christmas becomes a holiday centred around me and not a holy-day centred around Him, I wonder if we’ve forgotten or never thought of Jesus in the terms which the Bible uses.
Another angel visit and Joseph again accepting it as true hastily flees to Egypt – for fear of Herod. Matthew, writing some 50 or so years later with hindsight remembers the prophecy about the Messiah coming out of Egypt.
Prayer: Give me an understanding of what the truth of this birth really is.