I guess you could call them political refugees. It’s a familiar story, I’m sure you have heard it before. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
They got out before the soldiers came because they had been tipped off. You can attribute that to divine intervention if you like, or just to the inability people have to keep something really secret when more than one person knows. The details are irrelevant.
So there they wound up, strangers in a strange land, picking up the language and a few odd jobs to get the money necessary to eke out a living. There was no organization set up to handle cases like theirs. Of course that is mostly conjecture on my part. When they were finally able to return home they didn’t talk much about the ordeal and the time spent in exile.
It wasn’t the first time their family had been part of a migration of refugees between the two areas, although in the past it had been more economic movement than political. Times change. There are the same questions today as refugees stream across European borders: are they looking for security or economic opportunity? Are the two that different?
For much of the past year the world has grappled with how to handle the flood of refugees coming out of the Middle East. The media has carried the story, but no-one has managed to come up with a solution. The simple fact is that no country was prepared for the influx. Many of the refugees had been in camps in the Middle East for years; the expectation was that they weren’t going anywhere.
As we head into 2016 the world is witnessing the largest movement of refugees in 70 years as those fleeing conflict in Iraq and Syria search for safety and then a new home. A lot (dare I say the majority?) of the support, both financial and otherwise, is coming from Christians and those from a Christian tradition.
How could they do otherwise, remembering that, in his early years, Jesus and his family were themselves refugees.
I wrote this a few weeks ago and thought “I should save that for Epiphany, it would be appropriate then.” Life intervened, as it frequently does, and I suddenly realized that today was Epiphany and I hadn’t posted the piece. At least I made it before midnight.