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Reports say there are roughly 60 million human beings in the world right now who are in some form of transition in search of a new home. And so this Advent season I’ve been thinking a lot about immigrants and refugees.

Through our liturgical seasons, we love the journey motif and it evokes romantic imagery of movement, milestones, and eventual bliss, but the story of refugees brings my feet to the ground to the utter sorrow and peril that many are on today.

This reality makes me physically uncomfortable, or overwhelmed; or in a word, pained. Many of my default instincts are to avoid this pain. Yet, Advent is a season that begins in darkness and a stark discomforting wake-up call; and it ends with a light coming into the world; a light of hope, a light of help, support and refuge.

May we courageously face this dark and uncomfortable reality of the 60 million in our human family today.

May this Advent season be a crucible of solidarity with those searching for a home, one that squeezes away our defenses and opens our hearts to love that is willing to act in clear and intentional ways. Because ultimately our own wholeness is inextricably linked those who are literally on a journey to save their lives.

Desmond Tutu says it better,

“When we look squarely at another’s desperate need
and get involved,
we actually feel less pain, not more,
because we overcome the gnawing guild and despair
that festers under our numbness.
We clean the wound –
our own and others –
and it can finally heal.”

Jon Dephouse is the Senior Associate for Education & Formation at All Saints Church in Pasadena.