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Jesus was a refugee.

1 min. read

Most everyone knows the Christmas story. The star. The shepherds. The manger. The wise men. But one chapter in the story of Jesus’ birth is often neglected. Quite possibly because of its horrific nature. After the Magi from the East visited Mary and Joseph, King Herod requested they disclose where young Jesus resided. But being warned in a dream, the wise men departed a different way without telling the king of Jesus’ whereabouts. Enraged and threatened by a new potential ruler, Herod ordered all males 2 years old or younger to be killed.

With Herod’s henchmen bearing down on Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary fled with their young child to Egypt. Imagine the circumstances. Two young parents grab their toddler and whatever they can carry on their backs and flee the country. There was no safety for them in their homeland, so the only option was to seek foreign soil.

We don’t know much about their time in Egypt, but one can only imagine that they probably ran from their home and tried to stay hidden as long as possible. Being young, poor, and Jewish, it’s unlikely Mary or Joseph spoke Egyptian. It’s possible the young family sought shelter and help from other Jewish communities scattered throughout Egypt. They might have even found and stayed in one of the synagogues that we know were in Egypt at the time.

After King Herod’s death, Joseph and Mary returned to Israel. But the impact of being displaced always stuck with Jesus. We can see it in his compassion toward others who were labeled outsiders — the Samaritans, the lepers, the tax collectors, and the sinners.

Scripture Reference: Matthew 2:13-15b