Sermon for Dec. 29, 2013

First Sunday of Christmas- Year A

Each year, on this Sunday, the first Sunday of Christmas, the texts for the day are chosen from the stories of Jesus’ childhood that we have recorded in the Bible. There aren’t many. We only have a handful of stories before Jesus begins his ministry as an adult. One year we read the story of Anna and Simeon in the temple bringing their blessings to the tiny messiah and those beautiful words, “Now Lord, you let your servant go in peace”. One year we read the story of Jesus reading in the temple while his parents search for him frantically.

And this year, we read Matthew’s version of Jesus’ childhood. This story is called by two names “The Flight into Egypt” and “The Massacre of the Innocents”. The two names reflect the two parallel events- two distinct sides of the story. One side is the safety for the holy family as they flee into refuge in Egypt. The other side is the true and horrid fact that many families did not have the same opportunity to escape the wrath of Herod. Wrath that was caused by hearing that a new king- albeit a very different kind of king, an infant Messiah- was on the scene in Israel.

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