As I started my devotional reading and reflection on Advent today, I couldn’t help but stop and pray for the refugees around the world and especially those in Syria. (Here is my devotional)
Advent is about waiting and preparing our hearts to receive the savior of the world – the one who is coming to us to restore and make things new.
You cannot read today’s reading and not face the reality that Jesus was a refugee. And this reality must shape the way we think, pray, talk and act right now.
Today, I can’t help but meditate on how we must wait, weep, and ask God to make things new for the refugees around the world. We are waiting, Jesus, for you to show up!
Jesus the Refugee
It doesn’t matter what your political bent is. Jesus was a refugee and so were his parents. If you are reading through Matthew as part of your advent reading, then you are staring this reality right in the face:
13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.
What are you going to do about this reality? Jesus is a refugee. Does this make you uncomfortable or comforted? How does your conversation change with friends, family, and colleagues knowing that Jesus, the one you pray to and press into for hope, is a refugee. Would you talk differently?
Today as I wait on Jesus, and orient my heart to understand more deeply the hurt of the world and how badly we need a savior, I can’t help but pray for the refugees and also thank God that he understands them and was one of them. He knows. He has solidarity with them. I appeal to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5 For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.
I am thanking God that he knows their suffering, and that he can comfort them. I am praying for them to be comforted and to receive his comfort today – obviously a supernatural comfort that only can pour down from heaven.
What I am praying:
- Thanking Jesus for being a refugee and understanding what it is like to be hunted, attacked, displaced, scared, lonely, uncertain. Thank you that these refugees can take comfort in pressing into a God who knows them.
- The comfort of God would pour down into their souls and they would have hope in Jesus to rescue them and give them peace beyond understanding.
- That Jesus would speak to these refugees in dreams and visions just like he spoke to the Magi and to Joseph. That Jesus would physically rescue them. I know Jesus is doing this in the Middle East, but would he do it more. Would he warn people of deceiving leaders and about those that are on the attack to kill them.
- Herod acted out of fear and insecurity and it led him to control and kill. Would I become more aware of my fears and insecurities and how they lead me to control and destroy the things that “threaten” me. Would American leaders do the same? Would all of us take our fear and insecurity and press into worship of Jesus – like the Magi – instead of trying to push him away and kill him.
Today, the devotional is clear:
Jesus is a refugee and if we push them away we are pushing him away. You can’t press into advent this season, worship Jesus the refugee (Matt 2:14), and then turn around and hope our country boxes our modern day refugees out. Let those that have ears, hear.
Here is an awesome way that one man and his team is helping refugees in the Syria. He is a Godly man and some of my friends are helping him to fund this mission to get refugees out and into America. These are refugees that are losing their life if they don’t surrender to Islam.