How can our cultural emphasis on “holiday homecoming” be good news when this “homecoming” is not a reality for so many? The global refugee crisis continues to be at an all-time high, the U.S. – which used to welcome those seeking refuge in higher numbers – has taken fewer refugees or asylum seekers.
While it is a wonderful privilege for many of us to go to a safe home for the holidays, this is not the only way one can find joy in Christmas. In fact, there was no magical “homecoming” involved during the first Christmas event 2,000 years ago. Rather, the first Christmas is a refugee story. It’s a story of a young, poor, homeless asylum-seeking couple who fearfully flee their country and become residents in a foreign land in order to save their child’s life. And it is also a story of hope.
If we do go home for the holidays, may we not forget to celebrate the birth of this refugee baby who shows up. And then may we choose to follow him into the world’s margins and show up for those who long to find a place they can call home.
This message is an excerpt from “A God who shows up” by Emily Heitzman in the December 2018 issue of Café e-magazine. Today through Christmas, we celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord (I), Christmas Eve.
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