Dan Damon has written this hymn and set it to the traditional American tune, St. James Infirmary. He writes the following about "When Jesus Was a Refugee":
A hymn for the refugee, inspired by the immigration reports at the 2007 California-Nevada Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and the prayer for the refugees written and prayed by Paul Dirdak, General Board of Global Ministries. St. James Infirmary is a traditional song with roots in England and Ireland. Louis Armstrong recorded three of its eight stanzas in 1928. Bob Dylan used the melody in his song, Blind Willie McTell, in 1991. The minor tune uses an 8-bar blues form. Matthew 2:13-23; 25:35-40: What is transformative about our meeting with Christ as refugee? How do we address the injustice that creates refugees?