Day: Christmas 1
Lectionary Passage: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
Scripture Focus: Matthew 2:13-14
Preparation: Using Google maps, print a map from Bethlehem, Israel to Egypt to show the route Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. Then, print a second map from your church to a well known location about 200 miles away to give the children a comparable journey.
This morning I’ve got some maps with me. The first one shows a far away place. Today we call this area the Middle East. And that’s where Jesus was born and where he lived his whole life. In our Bible story we learned that Jesus and his parents had to go on a long journey when Jesus was just three years old. They started out in Jerusalem (point out Jerusalem on the map) and traveled 200 miles to somewhere in Egypt (draw the route with your finger). Egypt is where all those cool pyramids are found.
Two hundred miles may not seem very far to us today. In fact, it’s about the distance from our church to Memphis. You can see it on this map (show the other map). But, the BIG difference is that Joseph and Mary didn’t have a car to drive Jesus around in. They had to make the trip on the back of a donkey! That is a long, long, long, way to travel on the back of a smelly, slow moving donkey.
But, they had to leave Jerusalem (show it on the map again) because the evil king Herod wanted to hurt Jesus. Herod was afraid Jesus was going to be a stronger king. To save Jesus, an angel told Joseph that his family would be safe in Egypt (show it on the map again). This long trip, running away from the evil king, is called the “Flight to Egypt” and it reminds us that God watches over all families. That means your family, too! God watches over us when we are traveling to our grandparents, God watches over us when we are sleeping at night, God watches over us when we are doing all sorts of things.
Let’s pray: God we cannot imagine how afraid the holy family must have been as they traveled to Egypt away from the evil king. We are so thankful that you were watching over them, just like you watch over us. Help us always remember you are with us. Amen.