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Christmas 2008 is over. The tree may still be up, but it is empty underneath. Family members have returned home. It took weeks to prepare for Christmas, but now it is over. Life seems to have returned to normal, but for some there are the post-Christmas blahs. Depression is a problem for many people.
We hear about Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and wise men leading up to Christmas, but what happened to them after Christmas? Matthew 2:13-23 gives a detailed description.
The wise men presented their gifts and left. During the night Joseph had a dream. He was told to take Mary and the child and go to Egypt. Notice Joseph’s obedience. God spoke, he got up, and left during the night for Egypt.
Have you ever thought what this meant for the young couple? They expected to be in Bethlehem a few days, and now they were leaving everything behind in Nazareth and moving to Egypt. In the middle of the night, God said, “move,” and they obeyed.
When God calls us to do something, he provides.
Mary and Joseph would need money to live in Egypt so the wise men came with their treasures. God saw that they had what they needed to sustain them.
God revealed to Joseph in a dream that Herod would attempt to kill the baby Jesus, so he led them to Egypt. They stayed until God again told them to return. Once again, Joseph did not question or argue with God. The couple finally arrived in Nazareth through God’s leading and Joseph’s obedience.
There are at least three lessons for us here. First, the safest place to be is where God leads you. The wise men were led to Jesus by following a star. They followed God’s instruction and escaped Herod’s wrath. Joseph followed instructions and escaped to Egypt. He also did as instructed and missed the wrath of Archelaus. The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.
Look at the suffering and trouble of that first Christmas. Another lesson for us is that we are not exempt from troubles. The wise men avoiding Herod’s wrath, Mary and Joseph fleeing for their lives, and babies being killed by a mad king show that the way was not easy. Know this: God will give us strength for every battle when we follow the path he sets before us. God will win in the end.
The last lesson I see here is that God was in control. Bad things may happen, but God is in charge. He did not leave Mary and Joseph in Egypt to go it alone. God is still on the throne.
Mary and Joseph didn’t have the baby and live happily ever after. Their life was nothing like they had planned or expected. Your Christmas may not have been all you expected it to be. But know this: God is still in charge. And He will be in the New Year. When God speaks, obey and remember that where he leads, he will provide.