First Sunday after Christmas Matthew 2 Infancy

Matthew 2.13-23

After the wise men had left an angel appeared to Joseph and said Get Up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, for Herod is about to search for the child to destroy him…

Jesus Christ is the Truth of Man with God

Christ became man so that we may become God. He has come to make us God’s companions. When we are companions of God, we may become companions of one another too. Christ comes to us, as we are, and so as children, and he will take us with him to adulthood and responsibility. With Christ we will become mature persons, able to use our own judgment well, for ourselves and for one another. Without him we are pushed about by powerful people and swept along by forces we cannot name, and so we remain their victims. Without Christ we are stuck in a childhood which is enforced on us, which we never grown out of, so that though we may be adults in years, we never achieve maturity. The powerful want us to remain children forever. Christ has come in order to free us from their power. The childhood of Christ is so that we do not remain infantile. The first we learn of Christ’s childhood is that a new pharaoh was on the hunt, intending to destroy him so that his parents took him on the same course as Israel, to Egypt and when danger had passed, back into Israel again, to Galilee of the Gentiles.

Christ became a child in order to grow up with us and before us. In this way we could see what a fully mature human being is like, and so discover from him how huge and wonderful human life is, and so become ready for our part in it.

We want to become grown-up, responsible mature people. Christ became a child in order to grow up with us and so show what it is to become responsible and mature. He shows us the whole range of human being and experience, from smallest and weakest up to the greatest self-mastery and preparedness for all human experience.

Jesus Christ will allow us to grow up. He will help us become the sort of people not in the power of others, not always pushed and guided. He will not leave us on our own but will come with us and show us the way and provide the strength and insight we need to meet each challenge. He will help us resist and endure the responsibility-removers and independence-deniers.

He is born for the rising and falling of many. Many powerful people will lose their power. Many who have been kept down will learn to stand up tall for the first time.

Herod sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under…

Herod does not want us to grow up. He wants us to remain dependent, so that we always turn to him to ask him for what we want, and we always ask for what he has taught us to ask for. The powerful want us to remain children. They watch us and intervene at any sign that we are able to live without them and are able to make ourselves independent of them.

Our masters do not want us to become independent. They do not want us to discover for ourselves the sources of happiness, which are the sources of self-control. They do not tell us what all previous generations knew. They tell us that what all previous generations knew is obscure or too difficult for us. They do not want us to develop any concentration or curiosity.

Our masters use us to watch one another and hold one another in check. Herod given to each of us the weapon by which we can see without being seen and so elevate ourselves above one another and isolate ourselves from one another. Through this universal hand-held, face-shielding medium he has shaped our wants so that we want only what cannot satisfy us or teach us how to be satisfied. He has taught us to be helpless and needy. Every electronic device is the eyes and ears of the regime. Every camera and screen is Herod searching for our children, finding them and neutering them so that they can be no threat to him. He seeks total surveillance that will eradicate freedom

A voice is heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation; Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted because they are no more…

The British are grieving and crying because their identity has been taken away from them. They do not know who they are. They have fallen into the hands of a cult that has sat them down before a screen, put a keypad in their hands and now they find themselves unable to move and powerless to help themselves. They cannot turn to one another, speak to or hear from one another, without reaching for this screen and keypad. Every relationship is mediated through this device, so that every person holds this screen before them, averting their face and so separating themselves from those around them. Like people sitting in cubicles forced to talk through a glass partition that prevents one from reaching out to touch the other. The universal presence of the screen, mediating every relationship with a time delay, has turned them into a people in a trance.

They have become the victims of a religion that does not give its name, celebrated by the powerful, imposed on the powerless. This cult is turning the English into powerless, voiceless, memoryless, passive, inarticulate, distracted, fearful people. They consume all those things that they are told are free, without seeing that they themselves are paying the costs which are loaded on them but concealed from them. 

But the Christ child has come so that we may grow up. When you see the Christ child, you see who you could be. You see the truth of you. You are not merely watching someone else, but seeing the point in which you yourself may come into the action. You are watching a sketch of your own true identity and vocation. As you watch, you are coming to yourself, getting up and entering the action.

As Jesus is wrapped in swaddling so we must be wrapped in all the education our people can give us. We need the protection of this swaddling in order to grow. But instead we have let ourselves go naked into a hostile world in which our rulers have concealed from us the means by which we can challenge their monopoly. These wise men brought gifts to the true king, just in order that we should see and understand the gifts that our king gives to us. These gifts are the virtues with which man is supplied by God.   

Our rulers have averted the eyes of our people from the scene of the nativity of our Lord, and so from the event of the incarnation and the revelation that God is with us. This scene is the point at which all human love, life and true emerge into our view. By distractions that block our view of this sight, our governors have taken our children into their power. They have withheld from them all the virtues that made our people strong, and rewarding only simple emotional responses. Their intention is to turn us all into children. They want us to conceive of ourselves as the beneficiaries of their services, and so conceive ourselves as their wards. They do not want to hear that we are moral agents. Their agenda is to reduce our freedom to act for ourselves, which they justify by claiming to provide for those who can’t or won’t provide for themselves. Their entire effort is directed towards keeping us in a prolonged childhood. Modernity is a vast conspiracy to keep us from the sources of our identity and authority. When we cannot control ourselves, and cannot say no to whatever is presented to us, we have become pitiful.

But they not our guardians, and certainly not our moral guardians. They have no power of attorney over us. The Lord has arrived to free us to act for ourselves or for one another. We rejoice to hear him say, ‘Out of Egypt have I called my Son’.