December 09, 2014
Leaving Home for Christmas
By Charles Burge
Christmas in the U.S. evokes images of home, doesn't it? The sights, smells, and sounds of the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day center on the theme of home and hearth.
Home is in our songs, movies, and TV specials (along with the relentless advertising). The theme permeates our culture, even in the face of some spirited debate. I’ll grant that some of it borders on treacle, but nevertheless we seem to find comfort in the thought of being “home for Christmas.”
But we should remember the story of Christmas includes homelessness.
Remember that Joseph, Mary and their young son Jesus fled their home under imminent threat. The local authority – King Herod – was seeking to extinguish the one he had been told was “king of the Jews.” He saw as a threat his rule and was “greatly troubled.” So with cold cruelty, Herod ordered the murder of all male babies in Bethlehem, hoping that one would be the One (see Matthew 2).
So the young family fled their home in Palestine to protect their young son Jesus.
Over two thousand years later, families are still fleeing for their lives.
This year, thousands of families have been forced into exile by modern-day terrorists, evil forces bent on only destruction:
- In northern Iraq, families fleeing from ISIS are huddling together for warmth. Tents border the streets in the cities of Erbil, in Syria, and throughout the Middle East, filled with those seeking refuge from the horrific violence.
- In Africa, entire churches and villages who are fleeing the terror of Boko Haram are searching for safe places to lay their heads.
- In India, we receive regular reports of churches being attacked and Christian leaders ostracized by their communities because of their faith.
These families will not be home for Christmas.
However, where many of these refugees go, they will be welcomed by God’s people. The indigenous church in the Middle East, Africa and around the world will offer shelter for those who have no place to go.
Thanks to the generosity of God’s people through Christian Aid Mission, families in the Middle East and Africa who have left their homes and find themselves in a foreign land will receive a bit of comfort and joy this Christmas. It may be a blanket or a hot water bottle. It may be a meal or a mattress. It may be a needed medication. With these things will be a New Testament, a Bible, some form of Gospel literature and a clear understanding that this is being done in Jesus’ name, through Christians who are native to these countries. They are welcoming the foreigner.
If you have supported our efforts this year in some manner, thank you. Your generosity has immensely helped the indigenous church minister to those marginalized by governments and religious sects hostile to Christianity.
Surprising reports of people, families and even villages professing faith in Christ continue to flow into our headquarters. Former Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and secularists now claim Christ as Savior and are paying the price to follow Him. Our Facebook page is a great source to keep up to date with how the Lord continues to use your support to continue and even grow the work.
Thank you. And may you and yours enjoy a Merry Christmas. And together, let’s remember and pray for the refugee families this Christmas.