Now after they 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. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
— Matthew 2:13-15
Imagine Jesus seeking refuge in a foreign land. Imagine Jesus an immigrant. You see, immigrants are often faced with the reality of not belonging. Immigrants are often asked: “where are you from?” and “when are you going back?” these could be genuine questions to begin a conversation and have an opportunity to learn about the cultures and places of origin; music and worship; or other topics of interests. However, many times, people ask in a way that feels judgmental to the immigrants leaving them with a feeling and a reminder that they do not belong.
Joseph, Mary, and Jesus left their home in Bethlehem for Egypt after King Herod was threatened by the news of a newborn king. Like the holy family, many immigrant families leave their home countries to seek safety, security, and opportunities for a better life for their children. The journey is not easy. I imagine the journey from Bethlehem to Egypt was not easy for Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus but it was necessary to keep the family safe and together. Imagine if migration and resettlement could be extended to everyone in need. Imagine if this nation would say no to the horrible act of separating children from their parents. Imagine if Christians would extend hospitality instead of judgment.
Imagine Jesus an immigrant. Imagine that the young child seeking resettlement is Christ seeking a safe place to grow. Imagine a family running away from threats of destruction in their home county, is the holy family seeking rest and a new beginning in your town. Imagine that when we open our doors and our hearts to immigrants, we open the door to the presence of God. Imagine what a transformative encounter that would be.
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love,
show us how to serve
the neighbors we have from you.
These are the ones we should serve,
these are the ones we should love;
all these are neighbors to us and you.