“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33)

As we begin the season of Advent and prepare for the coming of Christmas, we are reminded by scripture that Jesus calls us continually to open our awareness to a fresh presence of the divine; for God is indeed coming into the world in new and powerful ways at unexpected times and in unanticipated places.  Our savior is coming as a child, shining a new light of life into any darkness that would harm us. He is coming as the King of kings and Lord of lords, bringing order to chaos in times of anxiety. He is coming as the redeemer, bringing health to hurting world. He is coming as love itself, overcoming all separation, fear, and fault.

It is to our benefit, happiness, and growth as beloved children of God that we embrace this calling to be aware of the divine presence. Jesus will come with power and glory, St. Mark tells us, and if we are open to Christ we will receive strength in our souls and joy in our hearts beyond measure. Being awake, being aware, learning about and living with the real-ness of God’s presence brings meaning to life itself.

There are more than 65 million children of God around the world today who, having been forced to flee their homes fearing for their lives, are longing for light, order, and health. Of those, over 22 million – more than half of whom are children – have fled their homeland for another country entirely and have been given the legal status of “refugee.” These refugees find themselves in this predicament through no fault of their own. They are often feared for no true reason. They are separated from a life that had once been theirs and should be again. They want nothing more than a place to live, learn, work, worship, and flourish. They need us to be aware of their plight, and to respond as Jesus himself demonstrates and demands.

This Advent season, I invite you to become more aware of the plight of refugees and ways in which you might be of help to them. Perhaps, as we all prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, we might find a new way to answer his call through this ministry. Visit EpiscopalMigrationMinistries.org for more information.

May God bless you this day, and always.

The Reverend Canon E. Mark Stevenson, Director
Episcopal Migration Ministries