I’m reading through Matthew and today is chapter 2…we all know the story. The Magi come to visit the newborn King and run into Herod. They go to worship and then go home a different route…and all is well. They’re obedient…God is honored…and everyone is happy. Oops…maybe not. Actually the Magi are obedient and soon after parents all over the city are crying out in heartache as their baby boys are killed. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to work. We often hear said that “the safest place is in the center of God’s will”. This is usually stated from a nice, safe, air-conditioned worship center located in the heart of the bible belt. The truth is…being obedient to God always has a price…the question is who will pay it?
Joseph and Mary were obedient…the Magi were obedient and yet it was unknown families that paid the price. Usually the price isn’t as severe as death…usually it’s more manageable. Right now we’re loving where we are…loving our city…loving our life. Sure we do without our favorite restaurants and favorite snacks…but for us this is our life. The price for our obedience is often paid for by our families in the US. They don’t quite understand why we have to live this life. They miss us…the miss the grandkids. They don’t see us on birthdays or Christmas…they don’t get to come to sports activities or dance recitals. They pay the price.
What an interesting way to start the story of Jesus….a lineage that’s less than stellar…an unmarried, young mother…ridicule…gossiping mouths as they see pregnant Mary….a venomous king. There’s no fanfare…no royal reception. The story begins with a strong sense of foreshadowing…this is truly God stepping into humanity…into the thick of the human condition. What a beautiful story!