To Be Human Is to Be Homesick
Image: Shutterstock

Carolina first left the Gaza Strip to study journalism in Toronto. At age 20, she arrived newly pregnant and, as a result, lost her scholarship—though not her valuable student visa. Without educational opportunity, she eventually went back home.

Carolina returned to Canada this March. This time, with a toddler in tow and another on the way, her travels included hungry hours on a hot bus and repeated attempts to cross the border into Egypt, where she and her child finally boarded a 12-hour flight to North America.

Carolina was fleeing hopelessness for the sliver of light that is this New World.

“In Gaza, there is no work. There is no dignity. Any day, you can die.” She pauses. “But it is difficult here. Very difficult.” Her immigration status hangs in the balance. She cannot know when—or if—her husband will join her.

Like the stories of the millions of refugees from Syria, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Eritrea, and Nigeria, Carolina’s story is the Christmas story, although not in the ways we usually think. The immutable “I AM that I AM” entered a womb and took up a body. But these were not his only vulnerable acts. Jesus of Nazareth also claimed an earthly home, which, as Carolina and many others know, is less a promise of permanence and more a risk of grief. When mobility, death, divorce, ecological crisis, and war reign, there is nothing certain in life, not least a home.

“To have a home is to become vulnerable,” writes James Wood in an essay for The London Review of Books. “Not just to the attacks of others, but to our own adventures in alienation.” Wood recalls that the battle prowess of the Scythians was often attributed to the ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
From Issue:
Read These Next
Also in this IssueWhen God Hits Below the Belt
When God Hits Below the Belt Subscriber Access Only
Sometimes he pulls us into the ring—but he always gives us grace to endure.
RecommendedMagi, Wise Men, or Kings? It’s Complicated.
Magi, Wise Men, or Kings? It’s Complicated.
Christian tradition finds meaning in each of these mysterious monikers.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
To Be Human Is to Be Homesick
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2015

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.