We are in a season of giving, of showing kindness, and of being neighborly. These are Christian values that should be practiced every day but are sadly taken into consideration only around Christmas time. Most churches take this time to share the story of the Holy family. They proudly display the Nativity Scene with figures of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in the manger. A church in California is one of those churches that has put their Nativity scene for all to see, but this one, in particular, is drawing attention to our country’s political crimes.
The Claremont United Methodist Church, located east of Los Angeles, erected the Holy Family, each person separated and inside their own cage. The image, which was first posted by Rev. Karen Clark Ristine of the Claremont United Methodist Church on Dec. 7, immediately went viral.
A church Nativity scene depicts Jesus, Mary and Joseph as refugees separated in cages.
“We see this as, in some ways, the Holy Family standing in for the nameless families,” said Rev. Karen Clark Ristine, lead pastor at Claremont United Methodist Church.https://t.co/5BjQXVLlOT pic.twitter.com/sHU3Hx47Uw
— Adriana Lacy 🦅 (@Adriana_Lacy) December 9, 2019
“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,” Rev. Ristine wrote on Facebook. “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family. 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. What if this family sought refuge in our country today?”
While her post never calls out President Donald Trump, it’s not difficult to connect the dots. The Claremont United Methodist Church isn’t the first church to display the Holy Family in a cage as a statement of the government’s use of separating families at the border. However, it’s good to see that this conversation is still happening because some people choose to forget that families are still being separated at the border or are in denial about our government.
Not surprisingly, people who claim to be Christian cannot seem to fathom the similarities between the Holy Family, refugees who were displaced and looking for shelter, and the undocumented people seeing asylum. Rev. Ristine’s Facebook page is littered with trolls and appalling comments that are so vicious we will not add them here.
But we will add this comment by Marie Moriarty-Puggi who wrote on Facebook, “This was such a powerful image, but I’m sure this will put people up in arms vs. seeing the true meaning of this…brilliant way to use the scriptures to get people’s attention in regards to the atrocities of this administration.