Which countries received the most claims for asylum in 2019?
“The USA (301,000), Peru (259,800), Germany (142,500), France (123,900), Spain (118,300), Brazil (82,500) Greece (74,900), Mexico (70,400), Costa Rica (59,200) and Canada (58,400).” *Source
If one were to believe some media reports and political rhetoric, North America is being overrun by asylum-seekers. The truth is that compared to the larger movement of people around the world, comparatively few people are making it to the West, and the USA and Canada are mostly shielded from the refugee crisis.
Volker Turk, in charge of refugee protection for the UN, has said that “Canada's recent spike in irregular migrants is nothing compared to the millions of refugees who pour every year into much poorer countries.” Remember this when you hear someone in the media, over social media, or even around the family Christmas table start talking about the “vast tides” of refugees coming into our country.
Also remember the Biblical mandate to provide hospitality. Hebrews 13:2 instructs the reader to "not neglect hospitality to the stranger, for some have even entertained angels without knowing it." It is possible he was thinking here of the story of Abraham welcoming angels-in-disguise on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18.
I like to think of the multiple times Angels are “welcomed”, or at least encountered, in the Nativity story, from the announcement of John’s birth to Zechariah; to Gabriel hailing Mary with the pregnancy news; to the dual messages to Joseph about accepting Jesus and fleeing to Egypt; to the warning given to the Magi about Herod; to the angelic throng scaring the shepherds half to death. In each case the angels announced something that was difficult but good and required action from the human characters in the story.
We don’t need a full-blown angelic visitation to tell us to practice hospitality. We have already been called by divine command to welcome the stranger. It is not always easy to find the best way to do this, but it is good, and requires our action.
Read: Luke 1:5-20, 26-38, 2:8-14; Matthew 1:20-25, 2:12-13, 19-20. Hebrews 13:1-3.
Ask God for opportunities to give hospitality to the stranger.
Pray for our Open Homes Hamilton hosts, who are supporting refugee claimants with home-based hospitality.
Ask God to prepare your heart, your home, and your community to welcome people who are coming into your city and neighbourhood.
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.