In our tumultuous and chaotic world, there are more refugees than ever before. Very few would become a refugee by choice, but sometimes war and famine, persecution and poverty force their hand. In Australia, a large amount of money has been spent trying to protect our borders from those who want to come here uninvited. Hopefully, we can find a way to separate the opportunists from the genuine cases without losing our compassion. Refugees are people like us. They just want a safe and secure place to live – something we so easily take for granted.
Did you realize that Jesus spent much of the first 5 years of His life on earth as a refugee in Egypt. At the time of His birth, King Herod was a despot ruler, who was determined to crush any threats to his throne. When the wise men from the east turned up at his Jerusalem palace looking for a new born king, Herod became very troubled. Determined to nip this threat in the bud, Herod encouraged the wise men to go and find the child – under the guise that he too wanted to worship Him. After being warned in a dream, Joseph took the baby Jesus and His mother and escaped to Egypt. The family lived as refugees for a few years until news of Herod’s death meant it was safe to return. In Jesus, we have someone who knows first hand just how tough life can be. His words of hope, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”, have the authority of someone who understands.
When you celebrate Christmas this year, give a thought for the refugees and other displaced people around the world; also for those amongst us who’ve been displace by unemployment, sickness, abuse and life’s hard knocks – it’s not always their fault. Look for opportunities to lend a hand, spread some hope, and make a difference. Make room in your budget to support one of the many charities that are struggling to make a difference in these tough economic times. Spread a little hope with the cheer, and make this Christmas one to remember.
ANNOUNCING my new book HIPPO IN THE STABLE
I would like to announce the availability of my new children’s book HIPPO IN THE STABLE on the FaithWriters e-Bookstore and on Amazon.com.
It is a Christmas story about a hippo named Harriet who is captured by Roman soldiers and taken to Jerusalem. She escapes with the help of a friend, hides in a stable in Bethlehem, and witnesses the arrival of the wise men. When Jesus is taken to Egypt (as a refugee) - to escape from King Herod - Harriet follows Him to get home.
The idea came to me while I was vacuuming back in 2004, and was inspired by a puppet my wife Annette liked to use with her Kindergarten children. I dedicated it to her.