Christmas and Refugees

photo-3This week our family advent readings are from Zacharias’ song. It was my turn to read because maybe I got tickled and laughed through last night’s readings; I think the hope was I would contribute rather than distract tonight. I stopped and read these lines again

“How contrary to Israel’s expectations! God is saying that their greatest need was not to be freed from other people’s sin, but from their own sin. So too, us – as individuals and as a society. We need a mighty, mighty Redeemer, someone strong enough to break the yoke of sin.” (p. 56)

Like many others, my news and social media have been filled with a wide range of opinions about an appropriate response to the Syrian refugee crisis. Stories like this Ladner family who is remodelling to host refugees warms my heart and challenges me to consider how I can engage more. Other headlines espouse racist, selfish, closed hearts, and I feel angry.

I wonder if fear moves people to want to try and be freed from other people’s sin, wrong, violence, falling short rather than looking at my own heart, life. Truly, I can only control my own actions and attitudes, so why not move myself into ways of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

I choose to celebrate God with us, Immanuel, by being with others. Christmas, after all, focuses on the One who came knowing He would receive violence, the One who was a refugee as a toddler, the One who loved when it was painful, the One who chose to be with His betrayer until the last day.

Lord,

You left Heaven where You are in a glorious, joyful communion and praised all day to come and live among us, starting out in a stable and moving toward a cross. I don’t feel called to move to refugee camps during this season in life, but please show me how to be hospitable, to be open and loving to those who enter my community.

Season my words and language with the awareness that each human has been created in Your image.

Free my heart, my cultures’ hearts from fear that limits hospitality and love. Fill us with Your love, Your goodness, Your withusness, so we don’t need to be afraid. Direct hands, feet, words into life and godliness. Show us how to walk as truly human as You were.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

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