The Egyptian Coptic Church celebrates Christmas on 7th January. They particularly remember that Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt in fear of their lives, when Jesus was a toddler. This painting depicts their arrival in Cairo.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Herod, the King of the Jews, sent his soldiers to kill the baby boy. Just imagine what it was like for Joseph. He went to bed, and in his dreams an angel visited him and told him to go to a strange country; somewhere he had never been before. He didn’t speak the language; he didn’t know anyone there; he didn’t even know if he would like the food, and there wasn’t time to pack a suitcase! All their possessions were in one small white bag on Joseph’s stick. They were able to find a cave to live in (now the church below). The Holy family were refugees!
I was given the painting when I visited Egypt after I retired in 2012. I went there not knowing where I was going or who was there; I did not speak Arabic; I did have a suitcase, but the food and the money seemed strange to me. All I could do was trust that God would protect me and guide me, because I believed He wanted me to go there. At the beginning of 2022, I feel the same way. I look ahead, but apart from a few events, I do not know what is going to happen. There will be good things and bad things. There is the fear of the pandemic; the uncertainty of politics; as well as financial and emotional challenges. Faith in a God, who is in control of the world, is my hope.
‘My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.’ Psalm 73:26
Marian Nash, member of the Christian faith
Date: Monday 10th January 2022