“85% of the world’s refugees are hosted by developing nations.
27% are hosted in Europe (including Turkey). 26% are hosted in sub-Saharan Africa. 17% are hosted in Asia/Pacific. 11% are hosted in the Middle East and North Africa. 18% are hosted in the Americas.” *Source
Be silent for a moment and consider:
How much is 18 percent? Is God satisfied with 18 percent of our attention, devotion, and obedience?
There is another very unlikely character in the Nativity story. Almost the first things we learn about Elisabeth, wife of Zechariah the priest, is that she is childless, barren and old. Surely this threatened to be her primary identity, self-imposed but also in the eyes of others. Yet this is not all that she is. Luke highlights that she descends from Aaron, thus carrying a “priestly” inheritance just as her husband. We also learn that she, like Zechariah, is righteous in the eyes of the Lord, “observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” She is not just an empty vessel to God, but is filled with goodness already.
Yet for all this she is still a surprising option to carry a divinely-appointed child, at least in the perspective of the world. Too old, too barren, not a viable candidate for pregnancy. But the joy she had thought denied to her now descends upon her in a miraculous way. The meeting of Mary and Elisabeth, both carrying children of promise in their wombs, is more than just an occasion for Elisabeth’s baby to start moving around a little more. Here are two of the seemingly least likely actors in the central story of humanity, greeting each other in an unmarked home in the hill country of Judea, far from any centre of political power, wealth or influence.
How many significant meetings, between divinely-significant people, are happening in refugee camps, along the refugee highway, in host countries in sub-Saharan Africa, forgotten European ports, in Asia/Pacific or the Middle East and North Africa?
Let us not be so enamoured with our sense of centrality and importance that we overlook God’s beloved people around the world, or miss out on what he is doing.
Read: Luke 1:5-25, 39-45
Get out a map and pray over the regions mentioned above.
Pray for 10 minutes, rationing your time according to the hosting percentages.
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.