The Empire Strikes Back
Dear God, You are the Lord of all my journeys. May they carry me into fellowship and fulfillment at Your feet.
Read Matthew 2:13-23
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Our world today is filled with refugees, displaced by war and looking for a better life. We do well to remember that the Holy Family was a refugee family.
An experienced reporter on the Middle East made this comment about the impact of the conflicts in the region on children: “The way the wars of our time are fought, as punishing, sustained attacks on neighborhoods, towns, cities, means assaults on families and children. I keep thinking of the children, the families I spent time with there.”
The Christmas story, set in the same region, reflects the brutal reality of a world in which people like Herod, drunk on power and driven by blind anger, bring suffering and despair to innocent children and their grieving mothers. We dare not allow a sentimental and escapist celebration of Christmas, with images of jollity and feasting, to veil the darkness of a world in which millions of people experience the kind of pain and anguish described in this passage. The good news, however, is that God in Christ chose to enter this darkness, to experience life as a child refugee sheltered in a foreign land, moving from one place to another in the search for freedom from the threat of terror. The name “Immanuel” (Matt. 1:23) carries depths of meaning which can only astonish us: “God with us” as a helpless, vulnerable infant, the target of hostile forces seeking to eliminate this precious life (13).
Let us pray, therefore, for women and children who suffer the consequences of violence and conflict. Let us ask that they might know the comfort of the One who has walked where they walk and, in doing so, set in motion the divine purpose to redeem the world and to fulfill the ancient promises whereby God would establish justice and righteousness on earth.
Identify one area of our world where women and children suffer from the violence of war and oppression—and cry to God on their behalf.
Lord, I pray for the displaced of this world. The solutions seem so scarce. Raise up those who can be used by You to bring Your hope into each situation.