December 23 – IRBIL, Iraq – “They saw their brethren murdered during Mass and then were bombed in their homes as they mourned. Al-Qaida vowed to hunt them down. Now the Christian community of Iraq, almost as old as the religion itself, is sensing a clear message: It is time to leave.”


Such was the news in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning. In this time of celebration, as we rejoice in the birth of Jesus some 2000 years ago, may we also pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ who must celebrate Christmas in secret.

And so it goes on: forced moves, fear, strife, loss of loved ones, religious persecution. But God’s hand is never lost. In our care for the lost and the refugee, for the immigrant and the stranger, God’s promise is met. Emmanuel – God with us – is in our midst and the promise, protected.