12 Days of Christmas…and Refugees?

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When I first learned the “12 Days of Christmas” song as a child, I used to love the actions that went with the lyrics. Lords leaping, ladies dancing, drummers drumming…it was all pretty fun and silly.

What I didn’t realize was…

the 12 Days of Christmas are about Jesus…the time period in Christian theology between Jesus’ birth and the arrival of the Wise Men (Magi). December 25/26 to January 6.

The actual events most certainly took longer than 12 days, with a range of between a couple of months to two years, for the Wise Men to meet little Jesus. It is even likely that the Magi’s gifts were used to financially sustain the Holy Family on their long, dangerous trip to Egypt. Instead of merely traveling to Bethlehem to register for a census (which was the first part of their trip), Joseph was instructed by an angel of the Lord to take his family from Bethlehem to Egypt in secret, for King Herod had instructed his army to kill all boys two years or younger who were in or around Bethlehem. It was a very different second leg of their road trip, and it was a really scary time.

Therefore, when we think of the 12 Days of Christmas…

let us remember refugees.

May our hearts and our minds focus on God’s children who are fleeing unrest in their homelands and seeking asylum and safety in a new, unknown place. Jesus and his earthly parents were once refugees, and they were assisted in survival by God through people like the Magi.

How can we serve as Magi (or helpers) to refugees today?

  • Do we have to be wealthy and well-connected? [No.]
  • Do we have to be open to serving God’s most vulnerable in their time of need? [Yes.]
  • Do we need to educate ourselves about refugees, be creative, and work together with reputable organizations and each other to help refugees, like the Holy Family? [Yes again.]

Imagine what the Holy Family would have done without God’s helpers (like the Magi).

  • We are given opportunities daily to learn and share God’s love to some of the most vulnerable and traumatized people today. And there are times when you and I need help from God via others. Let us follow God’s light, like the Magi followed the star, and find ways to love all God’s children, particularly those in such great limbo.
  • Just like the 12 Days of Christmas song, let’s take action and LEAP!

Refugees…starting at the beginning (a very good place to start):

This video is recommended for ages 12+. (Source: https://www.unhcr.org/en-us/teaching-about-refugees.html#words)

Figures at a glance

YES, this can be overwhelming.

However, when Christ followers get together to help others, really wonderful things can happen. It’s pretty awesome. And it’s important to remember–as many suffer around the world–we can be those helpers (like Mr. Rogers talks about), and we have the holy, humbling opportunity to look out and stand up for justice for all of God’s children.

When it seems way too big and too hard…let us remember that Joy comes from God, and helping others grows JOY. When things seem overwhelming, look for ways to remember God is always here to protect and love us. God brings me peace and joy in hard times through people and through music, so here is a bit of joy for your day…

“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your God in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Merry Christmas for 12 days and Beyond!!


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