We wanted to share here a reflection written by our Volunteer Coordinator, Melody Ward, about the way in which an old hymn revealed new meaning to her this Christmas season.
Last week, I sat in my church’s Christmas Eve service with my husband and children and felt a sense of expectation that kept me in prayer as we sang Christmas hymns together. Toward the end of the service a very talented mezzo soprano sang “O Holy Night” and one of the verses brought tears to my eyes. The expectation I was feeling was fulfilled as the relevance of the verse fortified my resolve to keep fighting for refugees…
“Chains shall He break
For the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease…”
The refugee is our brother. Quite literally, refugees have lived in bondage and slavery. They have experienced persecution and have made subsequent terrifying flights from their homeland, being held in limbo in a refugee camp for years or even decades, then a long journey brings them to a new fight against new challenges of poverty in America, language and education gaps, and the everyday newness of paying bills and getting the kids to the bus on time.
The birth of Jesus reminds us of His purpose—to break the chains of the slave, our brother. And WE are His hands that break the chains. We are His name that causes oppression to cease. It is our defense of the refugee, our friendship to them, our giving that breaks chains and ends oppression for refugees.
Our own Savior—a refugee in toddlerhood—loved the weak, the misunderstood, the forgotten, the marginalized. He lived His love in practical and spiritual ways that laid a clear path for us to love as He loves us, to forgive as we are forgiven, to give without expectation, to sacrifice for our hurting brother.
The heart of this season stands in opposition to chains and oppression and grants freedom, peace, and guidance to the refugee and those who willingly and repeatedly stand with refugees. To learn more about how to help refugees with friendship, click here.