by L.R., World Horizons Refugee Care Coordinator
Some 2,000 years ago, a refugee family quietly made the long journey from Bethlehem to Egypt, fearing their son would be murdered by a tyrant. Few people knew then that this homeless refugee boy would become the Savior of the world.
Watching the refugee crisis unfold over recent years, I wonder at how easily we forget that our Savior King was once as vulnerable as millions in our world today. We place our nativity Jesus into his little manger, and I wonder how many other children are simultaneously placed into makeshift beds in UNHCR tents, never to see home again.
After the stable owner on that first Christmas night, I wonder who else welcomed this traveling family into what rooms they had. Where did Jesus sleep each night? What kind of temporary home did they make for themselves in Egypt? I can’t help but hope that along the way they were welcomed into warm homes and introduced to new kinds of food at foreign tables.
Today there are people who do the same. They open their cities and churches, houses and couches to the foreigners among them. They welcome the unwelcomed; they give food to the hungry. And in so doing, they break the yoke of fear and the chains of hostility (Isaiah 58:6–7).
“As you welcomed the least of these, you welcomed Me,” Jesus said. It takes courage to embrace the refugee. It will take great, costly love to welcome the wandering families of the world into our homes. It may even cause us pain as we expand the borders of our capacity to receive.
But imagine this. It’s Christmas morning, and a Syrian family has joined yours around the Christmas tree. You’re reading that passage in Luke about His birth like you do every year. And in that moment, the familiar words become new as you hear them with the ears of your Muslim friends. And together as one family in one home, you wonder at the extravagance of God’s greatest Gift. The Gift that promises an everlasting home.
Whether we are Syrian, Afghan, Rohingya or American, I pray we can await that final homecoming together.
Follow along with our daily devotional series for the Advent season.