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December always brings bits of nostalgia. Family gatherings. Gifts under the tree. Christmas breaks from school. Sledding, skating, and snowball fights.
A seasonal memory for me is a play called “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever”. The story centers on a congregation preparing for their annual Nativity play, when suddenly, a boy in the church unintentionally invites a neighborhood family of unruly, rag-tag kids who insist on having parts in the play. Would the “peace on earth” traditional pageant forever be ruined?
But, something happens. The “unchurched” kids, having never heard the Christmas story, bring their street-wise, honest and fresh interpretation to the play, teaching the congregation that the Nativity story is about how there is room for all at the manger.
Displaced refugee children are like the kids in the pageant. For those of us who are complacent, these kids are a disruption. For the fearful, they are not to be trusted. In some worldviews, they are simply unseen. This Advent Season, we pose an uncomfortable question: “What about the disruption these children are facing?”
Our mission at Tent Schools is to engage, in Jesus’ name, in the children’s disruption, their losses of family, friends, homes and schools due to war or natural disasters. The good news is that with your support this year, we are funding tent schools, supporting teachers through specialized educational resources, and equipping students with technology that will make education portable. Together, we are entering their world of chaos and confusion, from Lebanon to Nepal and from Jordan to the USA.
Because of you, God’s message continues to be sent simply and clearly: “Child, there is room for you at the manger. Come and see. Know that Jesus, too, began life as a refugee, and embodied Hope for the entire world.”
In 2018, we don’t know how many conflict zones will emerge. We cannot prevent hurricanes and earthquakes. But we can, together, give back a sign of hope for so many displaced children in the form of education. We can compassionately begin the healing process with the presence of a tent school, in Jesus’ name.
Thank you, and may God bless you and yours this Advent Season!