The instinct to survive is strong. Very few people when facing the end of their life let go without a struggle. Although we see friends and family wrestle with cancer and wonder why they are willing to try almost any treatment, the fear of the unknown can overwhelm the best of intentions. In our everyday lives, we are urged to diet, exercise and relax regularly in order to live more healthily, and while this is understandable and good, we can become obsessed with preserving our lives.
The Christian who reads the Advent Gospels with an open heart knows that Jesus' most basic Gospel challenge is to think and act on behalf of others, especially the suffering, the poor and refugees. Not to respond to the people of Syria, Iraq or the Sudan because we are so obsessed with our own well being and fear of death is an offense against God and God's people.
As the letter to Hebrews reminds us, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." Heb 13:2 The book of Leviticus is even clearer. "You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God." Lev 19:34
Today, give some time you don't have to help someone struggling to survive.
What do you think our faith demands of us with regard to welcoming the stranger?