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Day 14 – Wednesday, Dec 20

Around the world today there are around 65 million people who have been forced to flee their homes.  This is, of course, is an estimate as real numbers a very hard to confirm with many people crossing borders illegally in their attempts to find safety or a better life for their families.  I was personally blessed to speak with several refugees in Greece during the summer of 2016. One of the many things that caught me off guard was that these were mostly professional people: doctors, lawyers, college professors.  One man that I met said he worked for the Syrian government.  They all told heartbreaking stories, stories we have heard over and over again.  Some of them have moved on now, many of them may be still be stuck in that same refugee camp, unable to move on and unable to go home.

Their stories remind me of three other refugees.  A man, a woman, and a child around two years old.  In chapter two of Matthew’s gospel, we are told the story of the wise men’s visit to Jesus, their encounter with Herod and the resulting escape into Egypt to flee Herod’s wrath.  So our Savior became a refugee in a foreign land.  The Gospels do not give us much information about Jesus’ time in Egypt and we do not wish to conjecture, but still, it resonates with those around the world who find themselves far from home that Jesus knows this level of struggle too.  The life of a refugee is hard, on the move, in danger, with little food and no modern comforts.  Many refugees walk many miles or brave high seas to find a better life for their families.  Many more, end up in camps like the one in Greece, with only the simplest of necessities for life and little hope.  Their Christmases are not filled with stockings and presents, and yet many of them still find hope in a little refugee child who grew up to save the world.

Joshua Paxton, Intercultural Studies Program Director