Proper/Lessons for January 3, 2016, the second Sunday of Christmas

Jeremiah 31: 7-14

In the days of Jeremiah Israel was in captivity in Babylon, Jerusalem was in ruins and the promises of God seemed very far away. But Jeremiah sees a different future, a time of strength, a time of renewal. He calls for the Jews to return home, to come from disparate lands about the Mediterranean, saying, this will happen by the power of God; the paths of return will be smooth and without the dangers of the road. God has forgiven the abundant mistakes and errors of the past; come home.

Ephesians 1: 3-6 (15-19a)

The letter to the Ephesians is primarily an expansive set of blessings, of thanksgivings for the blessings God has bestowed upon the people of earth. And the primary blessing is the gift of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, who, by the will of God, brings to all people the gift of grace of redemption and the forgiveness of our manifold sins. This grace provides an inheritance that binds us to God, to make plain the path of our salvation.

Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23

The gospel this morning continues the story of the incarnation where the Roman ruler Herod seeks to destroy the child because he perceives him to be a threat to his rule and control. Joseph and Mary therefore steal way under cover of night to Egypt and remain there until Herod’s death. Matthew connects the prophecy of Hosea, “out of Egypt have I called my Son” to Jesus’ return to emphasize the fulfillment of the Hebraic prophecy. Thus the family is settled in Nazareth in Galilee where Jesus is raised to adulthood and to the role intended by God.