On this week leading up to Epiphany… when we celebrate the revelation of Christ – let us not rush past the events the follow directly after the visit of the magi.

For the next lines of the text tell us that the magi leave by another road, having been warned in a dream to not return to Herod. The holy family are also warned in a dream to leave (fleeing quickly in the middle of the night to get to safety). They seek refuge in distant Egypt – while countless children are murdered in the place they had just fled. (Matthew 2.)

Jesus – Holy Jesus – was a refugee child.

Let us consider every implication of this – as we again behold Jesus who has come.

As part of my own reflecting, I wrote the following titled “Refugee child”.

I’ve also included a sketch below – merging the image of the refugee tent with the  tabernacle – the meeting place of God’s presence on earth in the Old Testament.

Refugee child

They had no idea where his accent was exactly from
They both spoke
In halting words
Picked up at trading posts
Along the way
a far off calamity
With names and places
Out of context
And out of sight

Some mention
Of the tragedy
Had reached some near them
But only their family
Seemed to have escaped it

She sang lullabys
In tunes too foreign
In words unknown
To anyone but themselves
He trading what little they had for food

Few could understand them
At all

Some took pity on them
A young family barely getting by
In what seemed to be a makeshift tent

They certainly had packed in a hurry
Carrying what they could

She went to get
Water daily like everyone else
But their tent was ill equipped for the winds,
morning sun and evening cold

Some more patient
Stopped by to listen
They seemed to encounter there
Much more than the story

Leaving their tent
They seemed
Glazed-eyed in wonder
Changed in ways that were hard to describe

Some, mainly mothers,
Spoke the language that
Has no need of words
But understands need
Offering Gentle care and strength
Bringing extra blankets
And a bit more fruit and bread by

One family did the most
Travellers themselves
Saw to it to take them in

Two years about they stayed
Far beyond house guests

Settling in this land
Joseph putting his skill to work
Mary raising their son

In time more
And more beholding
Just who
They had
Welcomed in


“Holy Family – Refugee tabernacle”. Artist: Rev. Allison Becker


(Image description. Black ink on paper. A simple sketched tent stands in the background of the image of a couple – a man and woman – together with their child. The man and woman are standing facing forward at the forefront of the sketch. The tent behind them is open and bare with only basin sitting in a corner. The man is standing near his wife,  with a bag over his shoulder. He has a arm around her. The woman and man are in simple clothing which appears slightly worn in places; the woman wears a head scarf. She is holding an infant wrapped tight in blankets. There is an ever slight curve of a dome over each of them – a nod to the Holy.)

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