Third Sunday of Advent 2013.

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them, the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and burning incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who raises an infant to his cheeks,
and I bent down to them and fed them. (Hosea 11:1-4)

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”  (Matthew 2:13–15)

The meaning of Hosea’s name is salvation or deliverance. Hosea is a prophet in the northern kingdom.  The name Ephraim is used by Hosea not only as one of the 12 tribes of Israel, but also for the entire people of Israel.  In chapter 11 Hosea is teaching how The Lord considers us his children, children by adoption. In verse 4 the imagery is amazing: “as one who raises an infant to his cheeks”.  Some 730 years later, God the Father will then send his own Son Jesus, to us as an infant.