By Linda Hartke
Though it’s early in the year, it already feels like we’re well into the new year! Work at LIRS is intense all across our programs of service and justice.
Refugees are arriving at airports all across America to begin new lives, welcomed by many like you. Undocumented kids continue to make a perilous journey to enter this country as they seek safety and family – and you support them with your prayers, your advocacy, your gifts, and caring for them in foster homes. Holidays can be a time of isolation and loneliness for some, and this is especially true for people held in immigrant detention – many of whom you advocate for and visit to make a simple human connection.
As Epiphany ends and Lent begins, we recall the milestones of Christ’s story once again – the fear and hope of a new mother and father. There is a long and difficult journey – not once, but several times. We remember the story of no welcome at the inn for the strange couple and how their child was born in a barn and put to sleep in a feeding trough for animals. The story and its milestones are filled with disbelief and love, stars and angels, shepherds and swaddling clothes, a murderous political leader, and a family who escapes by traveling through a different country than their own. Christ’s story is indeed a story of refugees and the surprising gift they are to a world and communities that desperately need the blessing these new neighbors are in our lives.
2013 will be the year for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) – an opportunity and a test of our values as a nation, a test of our political leadership and individuals lifting up their voices, and a test for you and me and LIRS to use well the strength and potential of our network. We need you to stand with us this year!
LIRS staff members are already deeply engaged in conversations and coalition work on comprehensive immigration reform. We need your help and engagement and that of so many others in so many ways.
In this new year, I give thanks for you – for your creativity and determination, for your integrity and passion for our mission, for your friendship and acts of welcome, for your hard work and generous support.
Stand with me – for welcome – in 2013!
Taken in part from Linda’s “Redefining Welcome” blog, dated January 14, 2013. Please visit www.blog.lirs.org for Linda’s regular thoughts, updates, and encouragement!