Driving by a Lutheran Church yesterday, I noticed a large sign hanging above the doorway reading, “Refugees and Immigrants Welcome Here.”
This inspired this morning’s Advent reflection, a result of some sleepless hours last night as this signage reminded me of the parade of cries that I am ignoring.
The Holy Family, seeking safety, were refugees.
And while the more fortunate of us spend this season remembering and celebrating a refugee family from 2,000 years ago, there are tens of millions who will spend this Christmas living in temporary (and not so temporary camps), risking their lives, and praying for a miracle as their home is no more and their lives are at risk.
The news cycle has moved on from the refugee crisis at the border. We fail to hear and for some, realize, the plight of the 70.8 million forcibly displaced worldwide (25.9 million are refugees). Every two seconds in our world, 1 person is forcibly replaced. Every two second…tick, tick, tick.
It is easier to politicize the issue, than to engage in research, reflection, and action to help those who have no home this Christmas season. Throwing up our arms saying, “what can we do,” is no longer an acceptable response (it never was). Asking what other politicians did no longer matters. Saying it is not our problem is immoral and plain wrong.
While many of us will stress over food, shopping, and company these coming weeks, an astonishing number of people are simply trying to survive (and this doesn’t even address those who are trying to survive with food insecurity, risk of violence, lack of access to healthcare, increasing suicide rates for, and increased violence against, LGBTQ+ youth, increased gun violence in cities, schools, and communities, and many others who will not see Christmas Day due to injustice and apathy).
This does not mean we should take down the tree and the lights, rather we should continue to reflect on how we, like the Holy Family, can bring Christ into the world- and in this case- providing comfort and creative solutions for those who are more like Mary and Joseph than we care to realize.
So what can you do:
- Stay informed: in a time when “fake news” at times includes news that we (and those in charge) wish for us to not know, facts from reliable sources are critical. Sign up for these United Nation email updates to continue to learn.
- Participate in a creative effort to raise awareness and funds such as this, or provide new, creative solutions.
- Take steps to stand in solidarity with those displaced, advocating for change from leadership, and being an agent of change yourself. Learn more here.
- Pray. Sure, pray for God’s help, but recognize that God’s prayer for you includes that you respond to that call. Honor the Holy Family in the displaced Holy Families of our times.
Advent invites us into greater action to bring Christ into the world. Let us recall the Christmas story, that of a refugee family seeking safety to bring God into the world.
Maybe this Christmas can be even brighter if we take greater action on behalf of those who are asking God in their prayers for someone to care, and to act.