From Egypt, Into Eternity

The plight of Mary and Joseph echoes through generations

When my mom was nine months pregnant with me, she and my dad had to flee their country suddenly. A war had broken out and the fighting was spilling out into the streets of the capital where they lived. Because of my dad’s line of work, he was targeted by the guerrilla fighters. Our family wasn’t safe.

I can picture my mom all those years ago, belly round with innocent life, and I wonder how she felt. I imagine she was fearful, unsure of how the situation would resolve; I imagine my parents feeling lost in the chaos, confused by the way their plans for starting a family had been upended. No one wants to become a refugee at nine months pregnant.

The story contained in Matthew 2:13–23 has become more and more vivid to me over the years as I’ve come to see its similarities to the story that my family lived through. I can picture Mary, arms wrapped around her baby. I imagine the fear, confusion, and desperation as they wonder about the implications of saying yes to what God had called them to. No one wants to become a refugee with an infant. Matthew reminds us of Hosea 11:1 in the midst of this story, full of profound prophecy: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” Despite the dark and desperate circumstances, God had a perfect plan and a purpose that would not be thwarted. Although fleeing to escape from a murderous dictator may not seem like God’s love in action, we see the bigger, foundational plans as they are fulfilled. The experience of Jesus’ family fleeing to and then emerging from the land of Egypt is the fulfillment of Israel’s same experience in Exodus. Words that once described the experience of God’s corporate people now …

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