patty kirk

patty kirk lying down, getting up, sitting at home, walking down the road doing deuteronomy 6:7

Sunday, December 30, 2012


About to leave for Albuquerque this morning to visit my friend Carla. It’s the tail end of Christmas break. The girls, home from college, are at loose ends, and the house is a mess but I can’t clean because the Christmas stuff’s still all up, and I have eaten all kinds of stuff I don’t generally eat for the past couple of weeks so I feel crappy, and all I can think of is home. Home the way I like it, clean and orderly and quiet. With Kris and me on our usual schedules, so that time is parceled up into pieces I can do something with—grade a set of essays, wash dishes, watch the birds, run, write.

So I thought I’d look into what there is of the story of Mary and Joseph and their baby as refugees—living a life without order and a regular schedule. Without a clear notion of what would happen next. Without—in all probability—a place of their own to stay in.

But there are few details of Jesus’ family’s refugee years. Just that they fled. That they went to Egypt. Then, to “the land of Israel,” Joseph having been told in a dream to go there. But, though Herod was dead, they were still afraid of his son Archelaus, but Joseph was dream-reassured to go back to Galilee. How glad they must have been to be back home!

Refugee stories always move me, probably as a result of my own years abroad. Fleeing, although I didn’t know it, didn’t know what I was fleeing. Certainly I wasn’t fleeing the terrors that Jesus’ family and the countless other biblical refugees fled and that refugees all over the world flee still today. Murderous rulers. War. Famine. Their houses and towns destroyed, many have no home to return to.

Jesus, in adulthood, once lamented, describing the house to house life he led, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20 NIV).

What a blessing it is, after the chaos of Christmas and airplane trips, to have a place of order and peace to return to, to have a home. I look forward to that.

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