The events we celebrate this Christmas season cover the spectrum of human experiences that are familiar in our world of 2019.
The flight of the holy family from Bethlehem to Egypt and the circumstance that led to that situation reminds us all of the plights of people the world over. Migrants, refugees and people displaced by natural events are brought to mind on reflection on The Flight into Egypt. We have seen their faces and we have heard their stories.
According to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, globally 70 million people are forcibly displaced – double the level of 20 years ago, and 2.3 million more than just one year ago– within their own countries or across borders.
‘It is a shocking and harrowing number. Conflicts have become more complex and combined with trends such as climate change, population growth, rapid urbanization, and food insecurity, we can, unfortunately, anticipate that forced displacement and humanitarian needs will continue to increase. The number of people displaced has been growing faster than our capacity to find durable solutions.’
– UN Secretary-General António Guterres, December 2019
In celebrating the story of the holy family on Christmas Day, themselves refugees, may we determine to keep alight the candlelight of compassion and hospitality for all who seek shelter, welcome and security.
As we hear again the Gospel story sung here, may we be reminded of the gifts of Christmas: peace and joy and light in the darkness.
We invite you to join us in prayer that all people may experience these gifts.