This is a Faith column.

As Christians we see God’s actions in the birth of Jesus and the love and protection extended to him from Mary and Joseph. After the visit of the Magi, recorded in Matthew 2:13-23, we see God’s guidance and Joseph’s actions in protecting Jesus and Mary. In this I also see an example for all of us that families are one of God’s greatest gifts to us and how we are to care for and protect one another. 

“After the Magi had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, 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. . .’

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the child’s life are dead.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, Joseph was afraid to go there. After being warned in a dream, he went away to the district of Galilee. There he made his home in a town called Nazareth. . .” 

In this scripture I see God’s message to us as well as to Joseph: a message of home, finding home, coming home, and of finding home in God.

Throughout the Bible, we see this message over and over. The eighth century B.C. prophet Jeremiah proclaims: “For thus says the Lord: See the remnant of Israel, I am going to bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth and they shall return here. With weeping they shall come and with consolations I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble. (Jeremiah 31:7-14) The Psalmist also proclaims, “How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God. . .  For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room, and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (Psalm 84)

As I read about Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and their journey home, I am reminded that we are fellow travelers with them and with all the Saints, as we journey together to find our true home as sons and daughters of God and sisters and brothers of Jesus Christ. 

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord who destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a) 

Ben Alford is the former rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Albertville. 

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