Refuge – 7 January 2019
A couple, man and wife, sit at a stranger’s table. The woman holds an infant child. This special family are lit by the light of a simple oil lamp on the table. It is an image drawn for children, that includes children. The children of the home share their table and what they have with their visitors. There is a sense of plenty, safety, and welcome. Around the table they listen to hear the story the visitors will tell, of why they have travelled and what they need right now.
This image is from the book ‘Refuge’ by Anne Booth and Sam Usher, published in 2015 to support the charity War Child. It is an illustrated version of the Christmas story describing first the journey to Bethlehem, then the travel as refugees to Egypt looking for safety.
As ever, the stories of refugees and asylum seekers are much in the news. We might reflect upon how stories from the past, including that of the Holy Family, can hold public compassion and pity more than those happening in the world today.
Now after [the Magi] had left an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.
The woman held the baby close to her heart,
and she and the man talked, about journeys,
and dreams and warnings,
and the love of a baby,
and the kindness of strangers.
Refuge, Anne Booth and Sam Usher
Gracious Lord, Child of Bethlehem, as you were born into a family who fled to Egypt as refugees, help us grow in solidarity with refugees everywhere, to know we are all refugees, until our hearts find refuge in you.
Christ Jesus, we pray that we will recognize the Holy Family in all refugee families who are fleeing harm. Open our hearts so that we may show your own solidarity to those who suffer most. Amen
Catholic Relief Services