As I travel around and talk with Christian groups about refugees and immigrants in the Bible, many tell me that they know the Holy Family were refugees. Matthew’s Gospel tells about an angry King Herod who wants to kill the baby Jesus, and the angel who suggest Mary & Joseph should ‘flee’ to Egypt.
Today, we’d call them illegal immigrants.
Everett Patterson created a modern version of the Bible Christmas Story:
What if Christ was born here?
So many of us know that Jesus was a refugee. And we want to help. But we just don’t see ourselves in the story. I’m not a shepherd, or an angel, or a king. I’m just a townsperson. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to change the world? A friend of mine posted a famous quote to help us imagine ourselves in the story:
In my case, my neighbors include resettled refugees. Michigan is welcoming thousands of refugees each year, including hundreds in my own town. For me, serving my neighbor includes serving refugees. In some states, the neighbors include undocumented immigrants. People who, just like the Holy Family, have escaped here for some reason. I welcome refugees and help undocumented immigrants get legal paperwork, because they are my neighbors, and I’ve been called to do that.
But for many North Americans, the refugees and immigrants seem to live far away. Maybe welcoming to your community seems impossible, or at least improbable. Which means, you have the opportunity to make a global difference. 99% of refugees will not be resettled to a developed country like the US; they’ll stay in camps and return home. We can support them by donating to groups serving them directly:
Lutheran World Federation works in the largest refugee camps in the world: In Jordan and in Kenya, as well as dozens of others. Donate Here
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services is the largest refugee resettlement and advocacy organization in the US. Donate here.
No matter how we help our neighbors – prayer, welcome, donations, or advocacy – we do what we do because God has blessed us to be a blessing.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!