The baby Jesus arrived a little early this year in shopping centres around Perth.
Calling themselves ‘Perth Baby Jesus’ on social media, a group of people connected with the Love Makes a Way movement confronted Christmas shoppers with their message. Love Makes a Way is a Christian movement of nonviolent action, aiming to create change in Australia’s refugee and asylum seeker policy.
Dressed as Mary and Joseph, and carrying a plastic doll representing the Christ child, the group portraying the refugee family from the Christmas story strolled through shopping centres with a sign saying: ‘King Herod is trying to kill this baby! Who will welcome these refugees?’
Earlier this week the group visited Garden City Booragoon and Cockburn Gateway Shopping City – where they were asked to leave by security.
On an Instagram post containing footage of the group being followed out of Cockburn Gateway by security are the words “We were hoping for help finding somewhere safe to snuggle, but #perth people are too busy shopping.”
This morning, the group also made an appearance at Westfield Carousel in Cannington – where they were politely escorted out of the building after about half an hour of their appearance – and Galleria Shopping Centre in Morley.
Rev Chris Bedding, spokesperson for Perth Baby Jesus, said their message refers to Matthew chapter two in the Bible. It is the story of Mary and Joseph fleeing Bethlehem with their baby, Jesus, because King Herod has put out a decree to kill all of the young boys in the area.
“So we’ve picked up on that story as an instance of what it’s like to be a refugee and to have your life under threat and have to flee for safety in another country,” Chris said.
“And there are lots of traditions, even today in Egypt, about the hospitality and safety that the holy family received when they fled. So we’re encouraging Australians to offer the same kind of hospitality to refugees that are fleeing danger today.”