“79.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of persecution, conflict and/or human rights violations.” This is the highest number ever recorded. The number of forcibly displaced people in the world has increased by more than 50% since 2007. *Source
Be silent and consider that number.
How does it compare to the size of your Church? Your city? Your country? The population of the world?
79.5 million is a shockingly large number of people who are not safe in their homes all around the world. Set against the number of people we meet in our daily interactions this number is overwhelming.
Yet it is not actually an impossibly large number, especially when compared to the population of the world. It is possible for us to conceive of ways to welcome, house and help displaced people. The space and the resources are in fact available around the world. It becomes more difficult to imagine this, however, when we think of refugees and displaced people as a “faceless mass”, a “mob” or “invasion”.
Numbers can be dangerous. Jesus’ parents were caught up in a numbers game.
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town.” (Luke 2:1-3)
Caesar caused the known world to get up and move in order to tax them. But he could not know that in so doing he was helping fulfill a prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were just two of many people forced to travel by this decree, but they were of eternal significance. They weren’t lost in the “mob”. They mattered.
So it is with every single one of the 79.5 million displaced people in our world. So it is with you, too.
God knows every single one of us by name and circumstance, and he loves us. We are not faceless to him. And each of us are more significant to him than the whims of Empire that continue to cause displacement.
Read: Luke 2:1-7
Prayer: Find a news source talking about refugees, and search for the name of an individual or family mentioned in the story.
Pray specifically for that one person or family today.
Pray that they would be brought to safety and know the love of God.
Continue to pray for them for the rest of the Advent season.
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.