Mary was dazed and confused. Joseph had woken her in the middle of the night and now she was clinging to Jesus, holding him as close as she could as they stumbled along in the dark.
When Joseph had woken her, he had tried to explain that he had been warned by an angel that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus. Mary was confused and she had begun to ask questions but she soon stopped when she had seen the look in his eyes. Joseph was her rock, he was always calm and collected and Mary had never seen him look anything like this. If Joseph was overwhelmed with fear, then they were really, really in danger.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus were now refugees and they sought sanctuary and the opportunity to build a new life in Egypt.
Thankfully, there wasn’t a leader in that country trying to build a wall to keep immigrants out or people spreading false rumours about the foreigners from other countries who were coming to steal all of their jobs.
Mary, Joseph and Jesus lived in Egypt and they remained there until it was safe for them to return home to Israel. We can’t imagine how difficult that life was for them as they found themselves in a culture that was alien to them. The Bible doesn’t say what their time in Egypt was like, but we can only hope that they received some compassion and support from the people who they lived among there.
When refugees or people who are living in fear cry out to Jesus in prayer it must be some comfort to them to know that he understands.
How about us, do we want to try to understand? Do we share Jesus’ compassion for refugees?
Anyone following the nativity story would be so happy that Jesus had found a country that was a safe place for him to grow up.
Bizarrely though, not everyone following the nativity story would be happy to accept more and more refugees into their country.
There are too many people in this world who like Mary and Joseph have had to leave everything behind in order to survive. Their lives are damaged and broken and the least we can do is to offer them some support and a safe place to live.
My hope and prayer is that Great Britain would once again become a country that is truly great enough to accept all people who are in need.
This is a part of a series of short thoughts for advent to help us to consider the events surrounding the birth of Jesus as we prepare ourselves for Christmas. You can look at the other advent reflections by clicking here.
You can read about the events that surrounded the escape to Egypt in Matthew 2.
If you want to reflect on what the Bible says about refugees and how you should treat them then you could start with these verses. Exodus 22:21, 23:9, Leviticus 19:33-34, 24:22, 25:35, Deuteronomy 24:14,17-18.