Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Cards for Foreigners in the Land of Egypt

When I was younger, a Lutheran going to church in the 70's and 80's, we did all sorts of social justice and charity projects throughout the year:  collecting food, going on walks to raise money, donating our old clothes, singing at nursing homes.  I remember December as a time when we really ramped up our efforts.  Even when I came home as a college student, there was a project or two that needed help; the one I remember most is creating gift baskets for women in battered women's shelter, and I remember being amazed that such a place existed.

Yesterday at my church, we wrote cards for women and children held at detention centers.  You might argue that we shouldn't do that; you might argue that they are in the country illegally.

I would counter that the Bible is full of stories of people fleeing and having to go to countries illegally.  In fact, one of the Gospels recounts the family of the baby Jesus having to flee to Egypt to avoid Herod's wrath.  I doubt that Joseph took the time to fill out a visa application.

We wrote cards in the hopes that those cards will bring a bit of Christmas cheer.  We wrote the messages in Spanish.  I found myself wishing we could do more, but hopefully, it will be a bit of light in the darkness.

If you want to participate it's not too late--but you will need to mail the cards by Tuesday, Dec. 9.  You can send the cards to:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Access to Justice
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

If you need a greeting, here's my favorite:

Deseandole un ano lleno de paz, salud, y amor.  It means "Wishing you a year filled with peace, health, and love."

We had a number of children participating.  It gave us a chance to talk about the issue.  I wonder what they will remember when they are older and taking part in social justice projects of the future.

The Bible reminds us again and again that showing love to the stranger is essential; we do it because we might host the Divine, and we do it because we were strangers once too.  It was good to do it yesterday.

"And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt."  Deuteronomy 10:19

No comments: