January 3rd The anger of Herod
13: And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14: When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 16: Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17: Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18: In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. 19: But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20: Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21: And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22: But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The Angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream telling him to go to Egypt. If anyone had been there no-one would have seen the Angel of the Lord and no-one saw them leave. They set off into the darkness (There were no street lights) and so the escape of Christ is perfect. The safest place is another country. It had not even come into Herod’s mind yet to kill the Child but he was long gone when he set his evil plans in motion. Herod spread his blanket of death to destroy the rival king and he never knew that he had failed, until in the dark realms of death Christ appears to declare the glory of his victory on the cross. As soon as Herod died another angel appears to bring the family home, however at some stage Joseph is afraid to return home because of Herod’s son. And he is right to be afraid and is warned again by the Lord to go back to Nazareth. Nazareth was in the far north and in a very out of the way place, where nobody bothered to go. It was a place of obscurity and an object of mirth that anyone would want to live there. Christ would be forever known as Jesus of Nazareth.