No room at the inn.
There was no room for them.
In 2014, it is Ankawa playing the role of Bethlehem and the internally displaced people (IDPs), the role of the Holy Family.
We can imagine the fear of the Holy Family as they travelled to an unknown part of their country, unsure of their welcome and arriving to discover that there was nowhere for them to stay.
At the beginning of the greatest story ever told, the simple, kind, human gesture of the innkeeper offering them a place at the stable stands out amongst the angels and Magi and treasures.
For the hundreds of thousands fleeing ISIS, Ankawa, the Christian community of Erbil, was their refuge, their stable. 20,000 fled here, meaning that the town was soon overwhelmed and the IDPs had to be found room in schools, unfinished buildings, churches, then churchyards, warehouses and public parks.
The UN built a camp to the North but this too was soon full. For anyone arriving late, there was no room for them. As the temperature plummets, frost forms on the ground, and the tents in the parks, churchyards and roadsides grow cold.
The Ankawa community has given all the space they can: 700 people now live in Mar Yusef, 800 in the grounds of Mar Ellia, and several thousand in warehouses, and makeshift camps across the town. Please help us to support those for whom there was no room, who have to live outside through winter, who stand in the churchyards because there is no room at the inn.