New nativities

‘Tis the season for creative adaptations of the familiar nativity scene and Christmas story.

Not long after Eve and Lily were born I first saw this one:

After spending two weeks of November 2015 in Palestine and Israel, this one took on new meaning:

Funny.  And also a reminder that Bethlehem is a real place with real people currently walled off from the surrounding countryside.

Then in 2016 someone had the brilliant idea to make and market this:

A hipster nativity is both an update of birth scenes in the developed world, and, in my reading of it, a not-so-subtle commentary on how a self-absorbed image-conscious virtue-signaling culture can be ridiculously distracted from being present for holy moments and persons.

This season the Washington Post is reporting another nativity adapted to address the moment:

A nativity scene depicting Jesus, Mary and Joseph as a refugee family separated was displayed Saturday at the Claremont United Methodist Church in California.  (Rev. Karen Clark Ristine)

This scene was unveiled this past weekend at the Claremont United Methodist Church in California.  Representing the holy family separated and caged is an example of the kind of theological imagination needed to connect our sacred stories with the present.  The article notes that inside the church is a second scene with the family reunited.  The Reverend Karen Clark Ristine comments: “You are seeing them reunited as we believe it is in the realm of God’s love.”