Advent Day 18: A Tiny Fraction
“A tiny fraction of the world’s refugee population was resettled in 2019 (less than 1%).
26 countries received a total of 107,800 refugees for resettlement. Leading countries of resettlement include Canada (30,100), the USA (27,500), Australia (18,200), the UK (5,600), France (5,600) and Sweden (5,200).” Source
Be silent for a moment and consider: How much is 1 percent of your city? Imagine your city was in dire need, and only 1 percent could be helped.
Resettlement is when a refugee is unable to return home but is welcomed to settle another country. As we can see above, this is not exactly a popular option among most countries. Talk of resettlement is often met with cries to “take care of our own first!” There is also a heavy dose of NIMBY in a lot of places: Not In My Back Yard. As a result, the number of refugees being resettled is minuscule compared to the refugee population.
We like to keep our “blessings” to ourselves. Thankfully, this is not God’s attitude towards us. When the angels appeared to the shepherds, the good news they brought was intended to cause “great joy that will be for all the people.” This news was not exclusive to the shepherds, nor even just for Bethlehem or Judea. Jesus’ final message to his disciples was that they were to take the message of the good news to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
We tend to read the above as an impulse to evangelism and mission, but perhaps we should see it as instructive for how we share our blessings. Craig Greenfield says, “If your church romanticises the Hondurans they meet on short term mission trips, but demonizes the Hondurans seeking asylum in a refugee caravan, it might be time to re-examine what mission is really all about.”
Start asking questions about how many refugees your country, and your area, are resettling, and why.
Read: Luke 2:8-11
Pray: “Father in heaven, please be near those who are forcibly displaced today. Some know you. Others do not. You love them all. May they all know your presence, protection and provision. You have not forgotten them. You know their names. You know their stories. You know their journey. Please lead them. You are not far from them. You know their loss and suffering. You suffered too. Please heal and comfort them. You are not against them. You deeply care for each man, woman and child. Please renew their faith, their hope and their strength. They've lost their place in the world. Be their refuge. Graciously lead them to a safe place where they can settle and rebuild their lives. We pray for peace, justice and reconciliation in their countries of origin. We pray in the name of Jesus who was once himself a refugee in Egypt. Amen.”
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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.