Jesus Was A Refugee | Sojourners

Jesus Was A Refugee

Advent reminds us that even the God of the universe sought asylum in the wake of violent oppression.
Illustration of an advent wreath where the candles are doors that are ajar and open to the sky
Illustration by Michael George Haddad

I SIT IN one of our robin’s-egg blue chairs on our front porch, one of my favorite places on earth. It has been a haven of peace, a slice of paradise amid the pandemic. It is dark. And late. And chilly. No one is around. Looking up between two branches of our mature red maple, I can see at least one star twinkling.

My mind’s eye turns to the stars in the desert. I dream of laying down, blanketed by the desert night, and staring up at the Milky Way in a reverie of wonder. Suddenly my thoughts shift to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth who were minding their own business and about to turn in for the night. I imagine them comforted by the constant companionship of their night lights—the stars—and their sheep, whose bleating lulled them to sleep in the wilderness.

On this night—and really all throughout the year—I cannot stop thinking about how a mass choir of angels unexpectedly appeared to the shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth. Advent. Why appear to those looked down upon as poor societal nobodies? Why parade through and light up the night sky in concert for those the world deems to have little to no worth? Who would believe their testimony anyway?

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