For one church in Claremont, the act of depicting the Nativity scene at Christmas is more than a tradition.

Over the past decade, Claremont United Methodist Church has made it a point to highlight social justice issues from mass incarceration and detention of families at the U.S.-Mexico border to Black Lives Matter and racial equity.

This year, the church is calling attention to the perils of environmental pollution and climate change. The display this year features an industrial scene in the background with smoke and pollution and the Holy Family standing in front of it with scorched earth in the foreground.

The church’s Creative Peacemaking Committee decided that this year’s Nativity scene, displayed in front of the church at 211 W. Foothill Blvd., would focus on the concern for the environment, said the Rev. Martha Morales, associate pastor.

“This idea for the Nativity scene was born out of wanting it to be a prophetic message about our faith and how we act and live it out in the world,” she said. “Christmas is not just the story of the birth of Jesus. This is not just a time when we feel all calm and peaceful and give each other nice presents. The story of Christmas is a deep and challenging story of a marginalized family that fled their home to go to Egypt. We tend to ignore the really challenging parts of the Christmas story….”

The above comes from a Dec. 16 story in the