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A US church has used its nativity scene to create a political statement about immigration.
Rather than the traditional set-up, Claremont United Methodist Church, California, has transformed the scene, instead showing Mary, Joseph and Jesus in cages after being separated at the border.
Sharing a photograph to her Facebook page, Senior Minister Karen Clark Ristine recited the story of Jesus's birth, linking it to the current treatment of refugees trying to make their way into the United States.
She wrote: "Stirred to tears by the Claremont UMC nativity. Inside the church, the Holy Family is reunited.
"The theological statement posted with the nativity: 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. 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? 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.
"Jesus grew up to teach us kindness and mercy and a radical welcome of all people."
"He said: 'I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.' Matthew 25:35."
Ms Ristine went on to explain that there are two scenes, the one outside the church and that inside.
Once worshipers go inside, they are then greeted by the family, but this time they have been reunited.
Ms Ristine went on: "In the Claremont United Methodist Church nativity scene this Christmas, the Holy Family takes the place of the thousands of nameless families separated at our borders.
""Inside the church, you will see this same family reunited, the Holy Family together, in a nativity that joins the angels in singing 'Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will to all'. Luke 2:14."
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Claremont United Methodist Church
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