Jesus Christ, immigrant

As 2018 comes to an end and the UK reflects on the birth of Jesus Christ, millions of UK citizens and residents will tune in to the BBC and other stations to hear the Queen’s Christmas message. It will no doubt be a Bible reading, unashamedly Christian in its message. The message underlines the UK’s Christian roots despite protestations that the country is no longer so. Even the Prime Minister takes pride in attending Church services every Sunday.  Despite such appearances, it is doubtful that Jesus and his family would be welcomed to the UK today.

Jesus encountered immigration at a very early stage of his life. In Matthew 2:13-18, the Bible recounts a scene where Jesus’ parents Mary and Joseph decide to escape to Egypt in fear of King Herod’s intention to kill the baby Jesus. Mary and Joseph were not particularly important people with high earning jobs, they were a young couple going through a socially awkward episode in their life. Joseph, a carpenter was engaged to Mary but before they could get married, she fell pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Rather than divorce her, Joseph married her and accepted her pregnancy as his thus conspiring in a huge cover up. Then he immigrated to Egypt with his new wife and infant child.

It is doubtful that Joseph and Mary and those who are in a similar position to them would be treated favourably by UK immigration policy. The government has been shamed for its hostile environment policy which has sought to make life as difficult as possible for migrants. In the UK’s post-Brexit immigration white paper, the government was proposing a minimum £30,000 salary cap for migrants intending to move to the UK before climbing down to an equally high threshold of £21,000.

Mary and Joseph would stand no chance of migrating here—they had not secured a well-paid job prior to migrating to Egypt, they were simply a young married coupled with an infant and dodgy story about their child being King of the world. And yet the strength of Jesus’ life was reflected in his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Ironically, for all its Christian heritage, the UK seeks to exclude the weak and vulnerable as unsuitable migrants to this country. Jesus Christ, an immigrant child with young parents and a questionable story would not stand a chance!

Isaiah 9:7

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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