Christmas is a time of year when many people reflect on the birth of Jesus. It has arguably become quite commercialized, of course, and sometimes it reflects attitudes that are considerably dissimilar to those that characterized Jesus. But any occasion that gives us an opportunity to talk about Jesus in meaningful ways is good.
Sunday we’ll study Matthew 2–about the wise men, about Herod’s decree, but particularly about Jesus’ trip to Egypt as a child and how that reflected a theme that began long ago. Jesus, like Israel, went down to Egypt. Like Israel, he came out of Egypt. But unlike Israel, he lived a life of perfect obedience and went on to offer himself as the perfect sacrifice (of which Israel’s animal sacrifices were mere shadows).
Jesus’ birth is remarkable, and it’s fascinating to think about how from the very beginning he was destined for something eternally significant. His miraculous conception prefigured his identity as the Son of God, and his early trip to Egypt further signified that he was the Son of God who could accomplish what Israel never could.
He was incarnated–God became a human being–so that he could do for us what we can never do for ourselves. May God help us take the spirit of Christmas beyond December, and may he help us to grasp the depth of his commitment to bring us back to himself.