Amy Martinell, Sioux Falls, SD
If you or your parents decided to move to another country, how would you feel? To where would you like to move?
Our Bible reading centers on the story of a family having to flee their homes to find safety in another land. This is still a familiar story for many families today. Those of us living in the United States are aware of the crisis at our southern border as migrants travel here seeking safety, but all around the world
people are forced to leave their homes hoping to find safety in a foreign land. The UN reports that in 2019 the number of international migrants reached 272 million. It is hard to imagine a number that large, let alone realize that large number represents real people, all in need of a safe place to live. This number has almost doubled in the last ten years and about one in seven or 38 million of these refugees are children under the age of twenty.
Of course, there are many reasons that people flee from their homes—war, persecution, and violence—being among the top reasons, but in one way all people leave their homes for the same reason. They are risking their lives for the desperate hope that they may find a place to be safe. It is almost impossible for a child to feel safe without having a place to call home, so in our world right now there are at least 38 million children who are unable to feel safe.
- What helps you feel safe in times of fear and worry?
- What emotions do you feel when you think of the migrant crisis? Guilt? Anger? Confusion? Helplessness?
- Why do you think it is so important to have a place to call home? When you have been away what do you miss most about your home?
- What makes your home special?
First Sunday of Christmas
(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year C at Lectionary Readings
For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.
We have moved quickly from Christmas night and the innocent scene we often imagine when we think of Jesus’ birth. Jesus is not yet two and he is already facing death threats. When King Herod meets with the magi and hears they have come to visit the baby born King of the Jews, he is greatly disturbed. Who is this baby who threatens to take his title of king? Herod was a ruthless leader who would do anything to keep his power and he became determined to kill baby Jesus before he can be a threat.
An angel directs Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to flee their home and find refuge in Egypt. The rest of the the male babies in Bethlehem were not as lucky. Herod orders that all male babies under two be put to death in hope of wiping out this baby who may someday become King of the Jews.
During this joyous Christmas season, this story reminds us that things might have been otherwise. Had it not been for God’s divine protection, fear and violence may have been the end of the story.
There are so many reflections of our world today in this story. In Jesus’ family traveling to Egypt we see the story of so many displaced people searching for safety. In Herod’s violent actions, we see the story of so many of our world leaders who are led by fear and make decisions out of self interest that hurt others. In the death of the innocents, we see the story of so many children who have lost their lives to war and violence. Yet, in Jesus’ survival and return to Nazareth we see the beginning of hope for a new story. We continue to put our hope in our Savior who changes the stories we know: lifting up those who are marginalized and bringing down those who rule with fear.
- Why do you think Herod is threatened by Jesus even though he is only a baby?
- When have you made decisions out of fear? How did that situation go? When have you made decisions based on hope, how were the results different than decisions made in fear?
- In this story we see God actively taking care of Jesus and his family. When in your life have you been aware of God’s activity?
- Watch the documentary Warehoused together. The movie gives an intimate look at the plight long-term refugees face.
- Every community has children who don’t have a safe place to call home. Look into the services your community offers for children in need of shelter and find ways you can support the work they are doing.
Loving God, We give you thanks for the safety and comfort you provide for us. Empower us to share Christ’s comfort with others. Amen.