Perhaps you’ve already witnessed the nativity scene erected in front of Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California. If not, imagine this: each member of the Holy Family has been placed on the lawn next to the sanctuary. However, in this display, each member - Mary, Joseph, and the Christ-child - are separated from one another. Each mannequin has been partitioned behind a chain-link fence: Joseph is constrained within a cage to the left; Mary is sequestered to the right; and the infant Jesus is nestled within the manger, left alone, within a cage of his own.

Have you seen it?

Can you imagine it?

This is anything but the image evoked within the beloved Christmas Carol of "Silent Night." The tranquility of peace among the chaos; the serenity of hope breaking forth; the dignity of the sacred revealing Godself … it is all wrapped up and put away, and instead, one of the most disgraceful and inhumane actions of humanity (one that is still ongoing, by the way) has invaded and overtaken the nativity scene.

It is disjointing. The face of holiness behind a cage. The Christ-child, ever vulnerable is made to endure hell on earth. God is made to experience the fragility of flesh subjected to the fullness of our cruelty. I feel as though it brings together everything that should be kept apart.

This is why I believe it is one of the most faithful images of the Christmas story anywhere at this moment.

While Christmas has always been about incarnation - a revelation of the eternal union of god with matter - many in the Church and culture have been busy trying to unravel this holy entanglement and separate humanity from God. Clergy have made Christianity a belief system to adopt in order to "be with God" in heaven after we die. Politicians have been happy to go along with this and claim a chosenness by God to rule - even if the policies and actions bring suffering. Incarnation stands in contrast to these world views and proclaims that God is with us in the flesh, that God and humanity are bound together, and asks for humanity to uphold a sense of reverence towards the self, the other, and the world.

The Christmas story invites us to regard all flesh and blood - particularly the most vulnerable - as holy and sacred. The original story in the gospels begins with a family subject to the whims of empire, incapable of finding a place to stay, later to flee persecution. The story begins here as if to catch our attention from the beginning and call our attention to the fullness of incarnation and say, "Look. See. God and humanity really are bound together - even in this." Now, the Claremont nativity stands for all to look and see and remember, God and humanity are bound together - even in this.

What might this nativity scene and sacred story hold for us today?

Bless those who bring together what others try to separate and keep apart. And bless all who honor the sacred truth of incarnation - the divine within humanity.

Rev. Chris McCreight is ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and currently serves as minister of the Hiram Christian Church and chaplain of Hiram College. He is on Twitter @revmccreight.