January 5, 2020: Headline: Young family fears violence, leaves homeland

Second Sunday after Christmas

We have probably seen similar stories in today’s daily news, but this headline is more than two thousand years old. This text is also part of the Christmas story. Past the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit to turn a willing young woman’s world (and ours) upside down, after shepherds’ scare and angels’ song, beyond the magi’s visit and gifts; we see political intrigue, violence, refugee status. Scripture offers little detail of Jesus’ sojourn in Egypt or his family’s return, except that fear of violence kept them from actually going home.

How do we reconcile this part of the Christmas story with headlines of families, little children among them, fleeing violence and seeking safe asylum, and the scant welcome they receive at borders, some near and some far away? Do we allow the inbreaking of the Holy Spirit to remove the trappings of our holiday celebrations and confront us with the partiality we often practice toward others in our life together?

As part of the church of Jesus Christ, “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (Revelation 7:9), how can we support efforts to limit our community to one ethnic or racial or religious group? Do we speak up when others malign some ethnic groups, immigrants, or religious minorities? Do we support such minorities in our schools, our workplaces, our city halls? Do we welcome them into our communities and congregations? (The majority of immigrants to the United States are Christians.)

Rachel still weeps for her children (Matt. 2:18). May we join her in lament and work toward the day when all are welcomed.

“Morning star, O cheering sight, tarry not, dispel our night!”


Vicki Jens Page, Moravian interim pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church
Cicero, Wisconsin