As churches across the country set up nativity scenes, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a United Methodist Church in California is putting a different spin on the traditional Christmas scene.
The Claremont United Methodist Church set up two different scenes for the nativity. Inside the church, visitors will see the traditional nativity scene with Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus together.
Outside, visitors will see the family separate from each other in cages, a move designed to protest President Donald Trump’s policy to continue the controversial family separation policy at the border.
Stirred to tears by the Claremont UMC nativity. Inside the church, the Holy Family is reunited. The theological…Posted by Karen Clark Ristine on Saturday, December 7, 2019
Senior Minister Karen Clark Ristine shared a picture of the protest scene on Facebook, with a statement from the church saying that while “refugees seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another,” the church was thinking about “the most well-known refugee family in the world.”
“In a time in our country, when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family.”
The statement continues to reference the record of Jesus’ birth in the Bible, noting that the family fled persecution after the birth of Jesus.
“Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death.”
It then posed a question to readers, “What if this family sought refuge in our country today? Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years.”
Ristine told the Washington Post she hopes the display will highlight “asylum seekers and the ways they are being greeted and treated and to suggest there might be a more compassionate way to show God’s love.”