“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” – Mt. 2:13

Growing up on the border of California and Mexico, the Christmas season didn’t end until the arrival of the Three Kings. My extended family would gather together to cut the rosca and see who got the piece of cake with the plastic baby Jesus in it. If you were lucky enough to get the plastic baby, it meant you had to throw the party in honor of the arrival of the Three Kings the following year. I love cake and I love parties so my affection for the Magi started at a young age.

As an adult, my admiration for the wise men from the east has grown and matured to something more than a reason to get the family together for a fun gathering. They were one of the first to visit the newborn King and the first to defend him. Their departure also marks the beginning of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus’ time as political refugees seeking asylum in a foreign land.

I spent Thanksgiving visiting my family in the desert borderland. This year was different though. Barbwire, hovering helicopters, and armed military personnel were present as well. They were deployed to defend US borders from thousands of women, men, and young children seeking asylum in a foreign land. They too were running away from death threats due to decades of political instability and gang warfare in Central America that are consequences of US policy in Latin America.

Driving through the border this holiday season, it was hard not to think of the Holy Family and their struggles trying to survive and make a new life for themselves. They were strangers in a new land.

Lord, how do You invite us to recognize Your presence in the foreigner?

Jeanalee Obergfell