Exploring the Sunday Gospel - Second Sunday of Christmas
This Sunday, the Second Sunday of Christmas, the Gospel reading continues Matthew’s account of the birth of Jesus. In these opening chapters Matthew sets out the major themes of his Gospel. Immediately before today’s passage, Jesus’ birth had been welcomed by the magi (the wise men from the East, representing the Gentile world) but rejected by King Herod (representing God’s chosen people, and acting on information provided by the chief priests and scribes). Now Herod’s edict to kill all the children echoes the King of Egypt’s threat to Moses. Jesus becomes a refugee in Egypt, only later to be called from Egypt (just as Moses had been) to lead the new people of God.
For those of you who wanted to do some thinking and preparation for today’s service during the preceding week, I invited reflection on the image of refugees. Today’s picture from their book, Exploring Judaism, reminds Rees and Sara that, just like Jesus, Moses grew up as a refugee in Egypt.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you spent your early life as a refugee,
in a strange land far from your people.
Open our hearts to refugees today,
to people escaping war, persecution, and famine,
that we may welcome them in your name,
and for your name’s sake.
Next Sunday we are keeping the Feast of the Epiphany (deferred from 6 January). The Feast of the Epiphany celebrates Matthew’s account of the visit of the wise men from the East who saw Jesus’ star at its rising and travelled to pay him homage. The image to help prepare for this event is Christmas star. You can find out more about that theme by looking at the Educational Resources and the Preparation Resources.
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