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After Christmas Rejoicing

After Christmas, all you can say about Christmas is that it’s over. And as a Christian, holding the gospel story in your hands, all you can say about Christmas is that it’s not over.  Now comes the return. Power ever threatened by the reign of God swings into action with horrifying consequences.  King Herod moves to remove the threat to his rule but God is not finished.  An angelic messenger appears once again to guide the holy family.  “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.” (Matthew 2:13) We are mistaken if we look to events like Christmas and Easter as fairytale triumphs.  There is no charming “and they lived happily ever after” closing the Christmas story.  Rather we encounter Joseph once again modeling faithfulness in the return.  Verse 14 instructs us:  “Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt.” (Matthew 2:14)  Joseph did as he was commanded.  He obeyed the Lord’s messenger.  Here in this simple line we have a message for us this day. What are we to do when the lights are taken down and the ornaments put away?  We are to obey God in faithful living.  It is in such faithful obedience that the Christmas Spirit, the Holy Spirit, triumphs.  Joseph did what any father tries to do.  As best he could, he protected his family.  There is nothing particularly heroic in his actions.  He didn’t raise a conquering army.  He didn’t form a guerrilla movement to counteract the attack of Herod.  He was obedient to God and fled taking his family to safety.  This little read continuation of the Christmas story invites us to cherish the triumph of Christmas by being obedient to God just as Joseph was.  Christmas is over, but it isn’t really over.  Now is the time of return. The news is good even amidst bad things happening.  Why?  God is with us!  This is the true reason to rejoice in the return.