Joseph and a pregnant Mary; the Three Wise Men who follow the stars; a baby Jesus born in the manger. Scenes from the Biblical nativity have been a traditional staple on Christmas cards.
But one charity group decided to give the journey to Bethlehem a different twist this year.
Doctors of the World, an NGO providing medical care to vulnerable people worldwide, hopes that its alternative Christmas cards, wherein classic nativity scenes are superimposed on images depicting conflicts in the Middle East, can remind the public of the realities faced by millions living in war zones over the holiday season.
The cards feature Joseph and Mary on a horse, next to the decimated ruins of a house; the Three Wise Men, who see a drone and a missile in the sky; baby Jesus and his parents, in a house with a hole torn by bombs.
The usual “romanticized” imagery of “peaceful pastoral” qualities on Christmas cards are “completely at odds with the humanitarian crisis” in present-day Middle East, said Executive Director Leigh Daynes in a statement on the organization’s website.
“This Christmas we’re asking people to see the realities that we see of the war-torn Middle East, and share some goodwill with a donation to help us give medical aid to people in desperate need,” he continued.
The cards were created by the advertising agency McCann London, according to the charity group, with photos from the U.K.’s Press Association, reports the BBC.
The full pack of cards, shared under the hashtag #RealityXmas, can be found on Doctors of the World’s website. Proceeds from the sale will go toward helping people displaced by war receive medical care.