In 2019 alone, the number of migrant infants and children—69,550 was the count in November—in United States custody reached an all-time high. In fact, that’s more than any other country. This family separation and detainment has been called inhumane and violent, while even Melania Trump herself has spoken against Trump’s immigration policies.
In a nativity scene at Claremont United Methodist Church, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are separated at the border.
It’s not surprising, then, that this year’s holidays are marked by sorrow, tension, and anger. In fact, a scene outside the Claremont United Methodist Church is speaking to that, showing Jesus, Mary, and Joseph being separated at the border, confined within chain-link fences topped with razors.
In a Facebook post by Karen Clark Ristine, she described being “stirred to tears” after seeing the Holy Family separated.
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
“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.”
She writes, “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.”
She also notes that the family was reunited—a beautiful message—inside the Church itself.
Whatever your beliefs — whether your beliefs (or lack thereof), whether you worship Jesus or simply look to biblical stories and figures as lessons and archetypes, the message is clear: This cruelty is unacceptable. And Trump’s presidency has been crueler than any other before it.
Twitter responded with support:
🎄— Art For Our Planet (@ArtForOurPlanet) December 9, 2019
Art as a powerful statement against Trump’s family separation policies at the border.
This nativity scene depicts the most well-know family of refugees: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; separated and put in cages.
➡️ https://t.co/3IcsBdduWL#childrenincages #Christmas #art pic.twitter.com/UiUAx3rRiR