Advent Four: Love - We Welcome

Advent Four: Love

Reflections on Matthew 1-2 & Luke 1-2

As we enter the final week of Advent, we take a step back to view the story as a whole and see how movement appears throughout the two birth narratives in the gospels. The opening words of Matthew feature Christ’s genealogy with a timeline patterned around the exile of God’s people to Babylon, reminding us that stories of migration and displacement weave throughout all of Scripture. 

Reading further, we see Mary and Joseph uproot their lives multiple times in this story. Initially forced to travel by government decree, then fleeing for their lives from targeted oppression, and finally returning to their home in the hills of Galilee. Every step of the way, these devoted parents moved in love. They honored their holy responsibility to protect the child that God gave them, and risked their own lives to preserve his. 

So many parents across the world also know this weight. About 40% of the world’s refugees today are children, and hundreds of thousands of children are born as refugees every single year. Many other children, while not legally recognized as refugees, face similar dangers from gang violence, climate disasters, and civil unrest. Their parents are faced with unimaginable choices as they endeavor to keep their children safe. Do we see them with the same lens we use when reading about Mary and Joseph? Or do we assign judgment where there should instead be compassion?

Modern Migration tie in: 

  • What factors do you think lead parents to choose to take their children with them across borders or even send them ahead alone to a new country?
  • Why do you suppose migrant workers make the choice to leave their children behind as they seek to provide a better life?
  • If you felt that your child was in danger or that you could no longer provide for their needs, what would you do? Would a legal border or barrier stop you from protecting your child or seeking their flourishing?

A prayer for love: 


We thank you for the nurturing love that you have for all people, and your desire to see flourishing on the earth. 

We come to you with broken hearts for parents on the move who are seeking the best for their children, but struggling to find peace and safety.

We trust that you want the best for children everywhere. Please deliver those in danger from the perils that face them, and help them to experience comfort through your love.

Guide our hands and feet to bring repair in places where we have influence, and give us courage to raise our voices for justice. Help us to seek mutuality in our hospitality, and give us humility to listen and learn from others about what they need.

God of love, mold our hearts to love as you do.


This post is part 4 of our 2023 Advent Study, God on the Move. The full Advent Study is available as a free download here. Artwork is by Terra and Sage and is used with permission.