Christmas Crossroads

crossroadsThe Paris and San Bernardino killings coupled with desperate Muslim refugees in need of hospitality have brought many disciples of Jesus to a crossroads.

Radical commands like: love your neighbour, love your enemy, do good to those who hate you, show hospitality to strangers (and the list could go on) are being pitted against rational arguments like: we must first consider those we are more responsible for, if we don’t help ourselves we won’t be able to help anyone (put your own oxygen mask on first), feel-good solutions don’t address real issues (and the list could go on).

Christ’s advent brought people to a crisis. Mary and Joseph faced their fears while Herod panicked and killed babies. Simeon said Jesus would cause the falling and rising of many, revealing their true hearts, and this Christmas the Christ-child comes to us as a refugee – maybe even a Muslim refugee. Decision time.

Such crossroads are good for they expose our idols – our functional gods. They are intersections of faith, giving us the chance to choose the real God above anything else.

Why would we want anything else? Well it’s those darn idols. They’re good things to which we’re tempted to look for what only God can ultimately give – things like peace, joy, purpose and affirmation.

The main idols in our present dilemma are like the four roads of an intersection or the two divergent routes of a fork. Prosperity and/or security vie with service and/or evangelism. We look to the first set for comfort and control (the drives of nationalism). We look to the second for respect and reward (the drives of moralism).

Arguments justifying these idols sound like:

  • We shouldn’t host refugees because…
    • Jobs, services, or resources are limited
    • The Islamic worldview is regressive and aggressive
    • Safety must be a primary concern
  • We should host refugees because…
    • We just should
    • They’re needy and we’re blessed
    • What an opportunity to share Christ’s love and make disciples!

Forgive the oversimplifications. These and other arguments could all be made better, but it’s not a question of which is better: stability or sacrifice. It’s a question of what God is calling us to do. What do trust in, love for and obedience to God look like in this situation?

Avatar photo Paul Carline (23 Posts)


Paul and Kelly worked in Kenya’s Somali community with Canadian Baptist Ministries from 1995 to 2011.  Excited by opportunities for cross-cultural interaction in Atlantic Canada and thanks to a partnership with CBM, Paul became the CABC’s Director of Inter-Cultural Ministries in September 2012.  The Carlines have two 20-something girls and two teen boys and live in Quispamsis, NB.

4 Responses to “Christmas Crossroads”

Jim ChristianDecember 18th, 2015 at 2:03 pm

Paul, thanks for your article. Well presented, but only two-thirds of the situation. I see the “third way” in this as one that is both loving and prudent. We should help the Christian refugees. It would be nice to help everyone – but, as money and resources are limited, we should follow the Lord’s teaching in Galatians 6:10, “let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”

Those who are “of the household of the faith” are our brothers and sisters. They are the ones who have been persecuted, attacked, raped, and murdered throughout the “Moslem world” for many years. They are largely ignored by our government, and, sadly, by the various church groups now stepping up to “help refugees”.

The Christian refugees are in a very difficult place. They have lost their homes and their livelihood. They do not have nearby RICH nations that could help them. And, they’ve been abandoned by groups like the CABC. Their numbers are declining rapidly.. and, soon, all evidence of the once “Christian Middle East and North Africa” will be erased.

Church groups here in Canada could have used their clout and influence to insist that the real refugees be the first to be brought here. However, it will be mostly Moslems – arriving with their expensive luggage, leather coats, jewellery and smart phones. (Christians can hardly even get on the UNHCR refugee lists, as even entering the Moslem-controlled camps is life threatening.)

About the only Christians coming in so far are those being privately sponsored by the Armenian community in Ontario and Quebec. We could be helping many of our brothers and sisters in Jesus. But, “we” are not.

Help the Christians, first. And, then, if able help the others. It’s not being “fearful” or “selfish” or “hateful”. That is the Biblical order of things.