Last night at Tuesday Night Sunday School our theme was Pilgrimage. We talked about the magi who went on a pilgrimage, following a star in search of a king.
Yesterday afternoon, a young family arrived in Connecticut after a long pilgrimage from Istanbul, where they first sought refuge after fleeing their home in Syria. They were understandably exhausted.
We talked about how the magi went to the house where Jesus was (not the stable) after speaking with Herod. It was mentioned that, after speaking with the magi, Herod ordered the killing of any child under age two - the slaughter of the holy innocents. This means Jesus could have been a toddler at the time of the magi's visit.
Perhaps the same age as the refugee child who, along with her family, was welcomed with open arms by members of New Start Ministry, Escorted to their new home they were delighted to see all the necessities, a toy basket for not-yet-two Elin, smiling faces, and a halal dinner that awaited them when they arrived. They didn't speak our language, nor we theirs, but the joy on their faces when they saw their new home and all their new belongings spoke volumes more than what could ever have been conveyed by the interpreter.
But they didn't get to rest for long.
Joseph had a dream after the magi left telling him of the danger that was to come, and the family started out on yet another pilgrimage - one to Egypt, to safety. Who knows how long it took them to get there and the obstacles they faced while settling in to life in a new country.
After hopefully a good night's sleep our family had visits from New Start team members to follow up with them after their journey and prepare them for what is to come. Almost-daily ESL and cultural adjustment meetings begin tomorrow. Next week brings visits to Social Security and DSS, as well as employment assessments on top of ESL and other meetings.
As we journey through this new year, let us not forget the myriad pilgrimages of the past that have brought us to where we are today and made us who we are today. And may we hold in our hearts and our prayers those who are now on their own pilgrimages.