A Christmas Prayer for Refugees

Lord, you were once a refugee as the small child from the manger fleeing to Egypt. And so we pray for all those who are fleeing persecution, adversity and hopelessness.

We remember the millions of people across the globe who are displaced from their homes. We bring before you families that are split apart, with a parent and sometimes children travelling ahead of the rest of their families. We pray for families that are kept apart by distance and also by asylum processes that frustrate their attempts to reunite.

We remember children who are no longer at school, and students whose college education has been disrupted and can only restart once they learn a new language and enrol in a college in their new home.

In particularly today, we remember refugees who continue to lose their lives at the borders of Europe, often at sea.

We bring to you our lament for those who have died stranded at borders, those who have died fleeing through deserts, mountains and seas. We call upon you and we join in the cry of those who have died seeking justice and a better world. We grieve, acknowledging our human loss. May God grant family members and those who survive grace, that in pain they may find comfort, in sorrow hope, and in death resurrection.

Help us to learn to share with each other, with the stranger among us. Lord help us recognise your presence in those fleeing to us by welcoming them. We bring to you our shame for turning away and remaining silent.

We have enough to eat in Europe, and do not see that we often create the causes of hunger.

We are insatiable, and do not see that this is the cause of many wars.

We are silent, where we need to take action.

Lord, we bring before you political leaders, who are not making decisions about mere numbers, but about the fate of individual human beings. Sharpen their awareness of how issues are inter-related. Keep their consciences alert. Let them develop rules that are guided by humanity and vision.

Let us, in the face of the huge changes in the Middle East and around the world, lobby governments to pursue policies that take human rights seriously and to stop making deals with dictatorships that only reward our own selfish economic interests.

We thank you for the work of individuals and organisations that make such a difference to the lives of refugees and people claiming asylum, showing compassion and offering love, hope, warmth, food, health, education and legal assistance.

Eternal God, we acknowledge that you sent your only Son, whom by dying has destroyed our death, and by rising from the dead restored our life. On this day of celebration, come alongside all your people wherever they are and remind us all of your eternal presence and your comfort and strength.

May your joy and your peace be with us now and always,