MFSA Advent Devotion Week 3
by Cindy Johnson
Scripture: Matthew 1:23

Las Posadas honors Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem seeking refuge for their unborn child, Jesus.  Unsurprisingly, an emergency shelter located on the border of Southern Texas and Mexico with the name “La Posada Providencia” provides an oasis and refuge for migrants seeking asylum. The Biblical narrative of the Holy family fleeing political oppression and violence and finding shelter in the inn’s stable parallels the stories of those who find shelter at La Posada Providencia.  La Posada Providencia not only provides safe shelter and support to migrants during their asylum cases, but it further supports asylum-seeking migrants with legal representation, aid for work permits, English classes, and transportation/travel arrangements necessary to attend court and other appointments. Additionally, the center provides migrants with a loving family environment and community during their stay/pending asylum cases.

Volunteering at La Posada Providencia for over 10 years, I have developed friendships with many of the young children and families residing at the center.  One family that remains etched in my memory, who comes to mind during the Advent season of waiting and hope, is a pregnant woman and her unborn child. Having developed a close friendship, the mother shared with me that her unborn child would be named Emmanuel, God with us.  As our friendship grew and the pregnancy continued, the mother asked me to be with her in the delivery room for Emmanuel’s birth. I was scared to do it, but it turned out to be one of the most beautiful days in my life. 

Now, over a year since that day in the delivery room, I continue to keep in touch with Emmanuel and his mother.  In fact, Emmanuel’s mother requested me and my partner to be Emmanual’s godparents, Emmanuel is one of the coolest, smartest, little guys in the world.

The story of Emmanuel and his mother who came to La Posada scared and in need of help reflects the hope Christians have in and through Jesus.  “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel” (Matthew 1:23 RSV). Even though the world can seem a dark place with many hurting, as followers of Christ, we must not lose hope, especially when God provides us with literal reminders of this hope daily.  Do not lose hope because it is already here all around us!

God, thank you for all you provide us.  Thank you for giving us an opportunity to be among you and for bringing hope into the world.  Thank you, God, for giving us the commandment to love God with all our heart and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Amen.

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