The community choir I sing with had our Christmas concert yesterday. We filled a local Catholic church to the brim twice over on a snowless Sunday afternoon. Most of the music was unique arrangements of traditional carols like this pulsing version of "O Come, All Ye Faithful". Some was totally new like "Let There be Light" by an friend of my youth, Craig Courtney.
These are they who love Jesus the Christ Child.
And how do they triumph o'er the gates of hell?
Through the grace of him, Jesus the Saviour.
I think of all the refugees knocking at Europe's doors this Christmas, fleeing the horrors of Islamic State. Jesus was born in a stable because there was no room for his displaced parents in the inn. They were poor and voiceless, lost in a crowd of nameless faces, far from home because of the whims of international politics. Jesus became a refugee as a small child, fleeing a paranoid King Herod, as evil as anyone coming out of ISIS. He had already killed his wife and children lest they threaten his power. Now he murdered all the boy babies and toddlers in the town of Bethlehem in his effort to destroy a child who had done him no harm, whose Kingdom was not of this world.
Among today's refugees are Christians whose ancestors embraced the Way two thousand years ago and have lived along side their Muslim neighbors for generations. If anyone has seen "the gates of hell," it is they. How do they triumph? Through the grace of that baby who knew the pain of the homeless outcast and broke its power on the cross.
He is born to redeem mankind from sin and strife,
To bring peace, joy, love and brotherhood.
O where shall I find him? Where shall I seek?
He is here and now, Jesus your Saviour.
[Our mission is currently running a campaign of focused prayer for displaced people. Won't you join us?]
P.S. Here is a link to the conert video if you would like to enjoy the whole thing. :-)