Nativity scene shows baby Jesus in a cage – like other refugee kids

Locking baby Jesus in a cage and corralling the wise men into an area marked “deportation” is not what you’d expect a nativity scene to look like. Yet this year’s nativity scene at St Susanna’s parish in Massachusetts shows exactly that scene.

Set beneath a sign that asks the question “Peace on Earth?”, the scene calls attention to the treatment of immigrants at the US-Mexico border.

The display is both a rebuke for the way immigrants are treated at the US border, and acts as a reminder of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, which some referred to as “kids in cages.”

“It doesn’t seem to be the message of the person whose birth we celebrate,” Fr Steve Josoma of St Susanna’s parish says.

“Is this peace on Earth? Is this what it would look like?”

Josoma says 65 million refugees worldwide are seeking a better way of life.

“We [the church’s Pax Christi committee] were wondering what that might look like 2000 years ago if this family encountered the same dynamics that are taking place in our country right now,” he says, adding that the parish hopes the display will “start a conversation.”

This is not the picture of Christmas peace we want to have in people’s minds for years to come. It can’t be this forever; it just has to change,” Josoma says.

This is not the first time St Susanna’s Pax Christi committee has chosen to reflect the current political landscape in its nativity scene.

Last year, it called attention to mass shootings taking place throughout America, with signs showing the locations and death tolls. Across the top of the display was a quote from the Gospel of Luke, “If only you knew the things that make for peace.”

Earlier this year an Indianapolis church put up a similar display showing Jesus, Mary and Joseph surrounded by metal fencing.


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