I recall a conversation I had several years ago with a friend from my hometown. We were recalling some good times from growing up, hanging out around bonfires. He stopped and said, “I tried to explain it to some college friends once and they just didn’t get it. ‘So you just go off into the woods with a bunch of pallets and just stand around and burn them?'”
After a pause, he summed it up well: “I just don’t think I could adequately explain it to anyone who didn’t grow up in Grand Forks.”
“So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.”
We’ve going through the first chapter of James on recent Sundays, and so Joseph’s immediate obedience to God’s word strikes me as significant. But I also notice the sense the text gives of returning home. That there is a place that Joseph and his young family belong, and that is Israel.
Prophecy speaks of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and his residence in Nazareth. On Tuesday last, I wrote of Him undergoing similar problems to us. Here we are reminded that He occupies the same space, that He has a place to call home here on earth (at least for a few years).
As much as He was made of the same stuff as us and experienced many of the same (and more) hardships, He had to live where we live to fully get us. A citizen of heaven He remained, but He took up residency with us.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Though the residency is over, His Spirit remains hovering in every believer. He knows us and the space we occupy.
Lord, I know you dwell in me. Help me continue to be a fitting space for you to dwell.