A Philadelphia church decided to get political this year with its Christmas nativity display, depicting the Holy Family as asylum seekers huddled near a refugee tent.
For more than 40 years, the Old First Reformed United Church of Christ showcased a live animal nativity scene. But after the congregation drew flak last year when a cow escaped (twice!), prompting a city-wide chase, they decided to switch things up entirely.
This year’s display features representations of Mary, Joseph and Jesus gathered behind a fence, sitting near a tent and a few water jugs. “The Nativity Story Is a Refugee Story,” a sign on the fence reads.
Pastor Michael Caine told KYT-TV that after receiving criticism from city residents and animal rights activists last year, he decided to view this Christmas season as an opportunity to tell a different story.
“Jesus and his family were essentially homeless and stateless,” Caine explained.
Last week, as Michael was out in the cold hanging the Christmas messages, a passerby, noticing what he was doing,…
The church has placed a donation box by the nativity, hoping to raise money to aid asylum seekers. The display also includes photos and descriptions of refugees, along with information on how to contact lawmakers who deal with immigration issues.