Beyond Bethlehem: Hope for refugees this Christmas

November 20th, 2015

This Christmas, Jesus followers across the country have an incredible opportunity to celebrate Jesus’ birthday in a way that truly honors him as we focus together on the urgent, global refugee crisis. Ginghamsburg Church is partnering with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministry, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Publishing House on the Beyond Bethlehem initiative.

The intent

Let’s remember that “Christmas is not our birthday” as we honor Christ on his.

The action step

Spend half as much on our own Christmas this year and give the rest as a sacrificial miracle offering to Advance #3022144.

How to prepare

1) View this brief video that introduces the Beyond Bethlehem global refugee initiative. (You can download the video at the end of this post.)

2) Watch this 8-minute video produced by Ginghamsburg’s chief storyteller Dan Bracken based on his trip three weeks ago to Beirut, Lebanon, a country with over one million struggling refugees – one-third of the Lebanese population. Allow your heart to be broken by that which breaks the heart of God. (You can download the video at the end of this post.)

3) Share these videos and other print, web and electronic resources available from our partner Cokesbury with your church family and communities.

I also want to remind us in the tragic aftermath of the violence in Paris that the most repeated command in scripture is — Fear Not. Our faith is based on sacrificial love, not self-protection.

As C.S. Lewis once wrote in The Chronicles of Narnia, Jesus [Aslan the Lion character] is good, but he is NOT safe. If self-preservation were at the core of Christianity, then Jesus was a poor practitioner. At the moment when he should have hidden himself away in secure isolation before his final Passover on Planet Earth, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem” (John 9:51). His destination? The cross.

This is not the time to allow the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil to prevail (Eph. 16:12). This Advent and in all seasons to come, Christ calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves, welcome the stranger, and DO LOVE.

To learn more about the refugee crisis and how the church can help, access these resources:

Mike Slaughter is the author of Christmas is Not Your Birthday and Renegade Gospel. He blogs at

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