“As of 2017, 30 million children lived outside their country of birth. By the end of 2015, there were 17 million internally displaced children (most because of violence and conflict).” *
Be silent for a moment and consider:
Were there times during your childhood when you faced serious uncertainty and the lack of security?
How did it feel? Did that experience have a lasting impact on you?
Herod’s ordering of the death of male children around Bethlehem is historically called “The Massacre of the Innocents,” and it has its own special day of commemoration in the Christian calendar (Dec 28). There are no secular accounts of this massacre however, likely because the number of murdered children would have been quite small. The population of Bethlehem at the time was probably around 300 people, and the number of male children two years old or younger might have been anywhere from 6 to 20. **
This does not mean it was not a massacre. The death of 6 to 20 children – the violent death of even one child – should cause us to lament. (Recall the 20 children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in December 2014.) So should the numbers of refugee and internally displaced children in our world today. Children bear the brunt of violence, economic scarcity, and political and social decisions over which they have no understanding or control.
Read: Matthew 2:1-18
Do a prayer walk for your local schools and child care centres.
Pray for protection, safety, and thriving for the children who attend.
Pray as well for the refugee and internally displaced children around the world.
Pray that they might be cared for and protected and treasured.
*“Faith Action for Children on the Move,” Global Partners Forum, General Curia of the Society of Jesus, Oct 2018.
Our vision is to help people survive and recover from forced displacement. We do this together with the church, both globally, and locally in Canada.