As we journey through these twelve days of Christmas, Bishop Ward encourages us to
“Look! The Lord is riding on a cloud to Egypt. The idols tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians melt at his coming.” Isaiah 19:1
Mary and Joseph take the infant child to Egypt having been warned in a dream. They escape the wrath of Herod, and there in Egypt, they are safe. The Coptic Church, the Christian Church in Egypt loves this story. They embrace it as their founding story, and they find their identity in it.
If we were to travel to Egypt we would find churches established upon the traditional places where Mary and Joseph stopped; a stone altar in a church where the Christ Child is said to have lain to sleep, a tree under which Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child rested, a stream where they took fresh water. The hospitality of Egypt to the Christ Child is celebrated in these texts.
We give thanks for the great opportunity of welcoming the Christ Child into our hearts, of receiving the Christ Child who comes in meekness and humility into a dangerous world.
As we journey through these twelve days of Christmas, let us take time to meditate upon this image: the Christ Child comes to us. We continue to live in a world of inhospitality, of danger, and of many threats and yet the Christ Child comes in strong humility to reside in our hearts. Our hearts like the hearts of the Egyptians melt at His coming.