After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Hurry and take the child and his mother to Egypt! Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is looking for the child and wants to kill him.”
That night, Joseph got up and took his wife and the child to Egypt, where they stayed until Herod died. So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “I called my son out of Egypt.”
When Herod found out that the wise men from the east had tricked him, he was very angry. He gave orders for his men to kill all the boys who lived in or near Bethlehem and were two years old and younger. This was based on what he had learned from the wise men.
So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet Jeremiah had said,
“In Ramah a voice was heard crying and weeping loudly. Rachel was mourning for her children, and she refused to be comforted, because they were dead.”
After King Herod died, an angel from the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph while he was still in Egypt.
The angel said, “Get up and take the child and his mother back to Israel. The people who wanted to kill him are now dead.”
Joseph got up and left with them for Israel.
But when he heard that Herod’s son Archelaus was now ruler of Judea, he was afraid to go there. Then in a dream he was told to go to Galilee, and they went to live there in the town of Nazareth. So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, “He will be called a Nazarene.” Matthew 2:13-23
The Greek Orthodox use the above passage as the Gospel reading for December twenty-ninth commemorating the Feast day of the Holy Innocents; the day that the Eastern church remembers those children slain by King Herod in an attempt to execute the child said to be king of the Jews; the western Church recognizes December 28 as the day of the murders of the children.
Of course the reason that King Herod sought to have Jesus murdered was that he believed the prophecies establishing the coming of a child that would grow up to become the literal King of Israel and Herod feared for his position of power.
After reading the above passage, take a few moments to pray con contemplate on the what the message might be in your life. Many of us are attacked both spiritually and sometimes spiritually by those that are fearful—for whatever reason—of us for filling or reaching our full potential. Jealousy and envy are two of the seeds planted in hard hearts, causing those receptive to those seeds to attack others, both directly and surreptitiously; we must be therefore careful to guard our thought so as to ensure that we do not fall to the insidious snares of the principalities of this world allowing our thoughts to be envious of others. Ask yourself;
Have I come under attack by those fearful of what I might become?
Am I guilty of allowing the adversary to plant seeds of envy in my mind?
As you pray include the following in your prayers and petitions;
Have mercy, O Lord, on our enemies: save all those who envy us, wish us evil or deal unjustly with us. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner; forgive me for all my trespasses especially those I have committed against others by being jealous or envious of them.
May the Blessing of God be with you, the Peace of Christ be upon you,and the Power of the Holy Spirit live in you, now and always. AMEN.
Go out into the world in peace;
have courage; hold on to what is good;
return no one evil for evil;
strengthen the fainthearted;
support the weak; help the suffering;
honor everyone; love and serve God;
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!