Christmas 2023 - Day 3: Christmas Minus One

…saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel…” Mt 2:20
Some say Joseph raised Jesus as if He was his own. That’s not true. Joseph raised Jesus as if He were the Son of God. Joseph had done his job well. By faith, he had protected the child. When warned of a threat he obediently dropped everything. He was a working man, but all enterprise stopped. Plans for a new household and family life ceased. Play time with baby and romance with a new wife were set aside. All normal life was exchanged for yet another uncomfortable trip; the second in this short betrothal and marriage. This trip was a hurried midnight flight to the strange land of Egypt. But now having waited on God in Egypt for three years, the danger was passed. Wicked lethal Herod who had desired the life of the child was dead. And Joseph had received the "all clear" from God's messenger. “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel…”  It was finally time to go home.
There are many components of the Christmas story that have powerful meaningful to me. In this portion of the story, I see Herod's actions and recognize that people will go to all sorts of extremes to get rid of Jesus. Those extremes often divide families. You see, I believe my son is one of those people who would do just about anything to get rid of Jesus. Yes, I have a son whom I love, but he doesn’t talk to us much. Like Joseph, he left quickly and moved to another part of the country. I know, your first question is "why", right? Why is he disconnected from us? My honest answer is, I don’t really know. I didn’t do everything right in raising my son. I was young and in many ways, not obedient to God. When he was ten or twelve, I began following Christ in a more serious manner, and that change proved exceedingly problematic for him. And although I made many mistakes, ultimately my son, like the prodigal, is gone because the rest of his family follows Jesus, and he does not. Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household." (Mt 10:34–36). My son is not my enemy, but I am his. For several years now we have celebrated Christmas minus one. It is terribly painful. Maybe you know the pain yourself. If I had it to do over again, by the grace of God, I would raise my son with all care, discipleship, and protection - as if he were the son of God. I would. As it is, I fast and pray for him - my dear eldest son – hoping God will turn his heart toward home.
Regret and separation are hard to live with - but God is working out all things for good. Bring your pain to Jesus. Face the truth of your own responsibility. Seek God’s power to change things if you still can. Repent and cry out to God for the minus-ones in your life.

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