Three weeks ago, my heart broke when I heard the news that twenty-seven people had lost their lives in the English channel.
In 2021, there has been a record number of refugees attempting to cross the channel from France. This is predominantly due to the lack of legal and safe routes for refugees to come to the UK to seek asylum. The proposed Nationality and Borders Bill – which is currently making its way through parliament – will likely worsen the situation. This new law will criminalise attempts to cross the channel. It will require border vessels to turn those in small boats away rather than bringing them to safety.
HOW DOES THIS LINK TO CHRISTMAS?
Before they fled to Egypt after Jesus’ birth, Mary and Joseph were essentially refugees in their own country, seeking shelter and refuge. I can’t help but think that our government’s response to refugees reflects the attitudes of those in Bethlehem, turning them away as if there is no room in the inn.
As Christians, we should consider how Jesus would have treated refugees today. Jesus says:
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in’Matthew 25:35
He teaches that we should care for those in need, especially strangers and the most vulnerable in our society. If Jesus was alive today, I believe he would welcome refugees and speak up for their rights and protection. If, as Christians, we are striving to live our lives more like Christ, we should be like the innkeeper who welcomed Mary and Joseph into his stable. They may not be the parents of the Messiah, but as valued and loved people created in God’s image. Surely today’s refugees are as worthy of shelter and protection?
MAKING ROOM IN THE INN
So when you watch the nativity this year, consider what it must have been like to be Mary and Joseph seeking refuge yet being turned away. Ask yourself: how can we help those seeking refuge today? You could volunteer with a local refugee charity, email your MP your concerns, or pray for the safety and protection of refugees. I encourage you to take action and respond in a way that reflects the love that Christ showed to strangers in need.