It’s pretty bare
Image via Imgur
There’s no better time for spitting truths than in the days leading up to Christmas. With nativity scenes cropping up on fireplace mantels and snow-dusted lawns, it’s important to remember one key fact, if only for the sake of historical accuracy. Excluding Jews, Arabs, and Africans from your classic nativity scene would leave you with a cow and maybe a few sheep—depending on what animal figurines you have lying around.
An illustration posted to Imgur brought this simple fact to light after going viral on social channels. To clarify, the religious icons in every classic nativity scene—yes, that includes Jesus, Mary, and Joseph—were all Jewish. As Bernard Starr pointed out for the Huffington Post, portraying them as devout Christians not only obscures the truth, but fuels anti-Semitism as well. It’s also worth noting that, in addition to being Jewish, Jesus’ family were Middle Eastern refugees. Several Twitter users have been quick to point this out.
Jesus was a refugee Matthew 2: 1-23 https://t.co/zZZp3n1dPK— Sara 🍫💻📚☕️🙋🏼♀️Conklin (@Sara 🍫💻📚☕️🙋🏼♀️Conklin) 1481007785
"Wow, a life size plastic replica of a middle eastern refugee family seeking asylum" - my mom referring to a nativity scene— Becca Williams (@Becca Williams) 1482421778
"Refugees shouldn't be our problem. Send em' back." "You have a refugee in your nativity scene."— Sleepers, Awake! (he/him) 🕯🕯🕯 (@Sleepers, Awake! (he/him) 🕯🕯🕯) 1481688032
Basking in warm light on a bed of golden straw has a way of obscuring the fact that Jesus was born into extreme poverty. One Twitter user shared that a modern version of this event would look a lot less pastoral.
I just love this modern depiction for the nativity scene. #adeventuresofthebaileys #modernnativity https://t.co/KoE6O4kLS7— Lindsay Bailey (@Lindsay Bailey) 1481571214
In the early 13th century, Saint Francis of Assisi created nativity scenes for the very purpose of highlighting Jesus’ poor beginnings. As Mic points out, this was a radical idea at the time, proving how easily ideas can be warped and misinterpreted over time. So, the next time your Christian neighbor bemoans the threat of incoming refugees, gently remind them of this obvious contradiction.