December 2019 Prayer Partner Email: Reflecting on the Christmas Story
As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s incarnation, I’ve been reflecting on a part of the Christmas story that doesn’t always make it into our nativity pageants. According to Matthew’s gospel, shortly after the Magi – the three wise men – returned to their country, Joseph, Mary and young Jesus were forced to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt, escaping the jealous and insecure King Herod’s brutal campaign to eliminate the Newborn King whose birth threatened his own rule.
As I celebrate with my family this year, I’m mindful of the millions around our world who have been forced to flee their own countries because of persecution, who have sought refuge in a neighboring land, including those who are seeking to rebuild their lives here in the U.S. I pray that the truth that the God of the Universe stepped into human flesh and into the experience of a refugee will be comforting to many of those in our world who have been forced to walk a similar journey, and that each would ultimately find their longing for a home met in Him.
I wonder what Jesus’ experience was during those formative years in the foreign land of Egypt. And I think about the hundreds of thousands in the United States who were brought by their parents to this country as children, many so long ago that they cannot even remember their countries of birth. Many are celebrating this Christmas under a cloud of anxiety, wondering whether this will be their last Christmas able to work and reside lawfully in this country. In the next six months, we anticipate a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be terminated. If the Court rules that the Administration can end the program, those currently protected by the program will lose their work authorization (and, thus, their jobs and livelihoods) and be at risk of deportation – unless the Congress takes action to finally pass legislation extending these young people a permanent legal status in the U.S.
As I pray for my “Dreamer” colleagues and friends whose lives are directly affected by these decisions, I pray for the Congress, the Supreme Court and the President, whose decisions will impact them directly. And I pray that the Church would rise up in unprecedented ways to stand with vulnerable immigrants, including these Dreamers.
In addition to your prayers, one way to help – and to be a part of the Church speaking up in a visible way – is to add your name to our Evangelical Call for Restitution-Based Immigration Reform, which includes a call for Congress to provide Dreamers with a path toward permanent legal status, and to encourage your pastor to sign on as well.
Thank you for praying with us this year, and into the New Year. May God bless you and your family as you celebrate the hope that Christ’s birth means for the world,
Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy, World Relief
P.S. Last month we gathered some denominational heads, local pastors and other evangelical leaders in Washington, DC, for our annual Evangelical Convening on Immigration. If you weren’t able to join us, we’re pleased to share the videos with you on YouTube at http://bit.ly/EITConvening19Videos. Please watch and share!