Nativity scene shows baby Jesus surrounded by American mass shooting death tolls

DEDHAM, Massachusetts -- The Nativity scene is a symbol of peace at Christmas time, but at one Massachusetts church, a jarring message about deadly mass shootings in America is getting a lot of attention.

At St. Susanna's Parish in Dedham, the figures of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph are surrounded by the sobering reminder of the lives we lost in recent years to gun violence.

Virginia Tech. San Bernardino. Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs.

The death tolls are on display along with the cities and places that saw such horror unfold, WFXT reports.

"We were discussing the gun control issue and how it seems to be stagnated across the country," says Father Stephen Josoma.

So Josoma and the church decided to do something about it.

"This is not the picture of Christmas peace we want to have in people's minds for years to come," Josoma said. "It can't be this forever, it just had to change."

Parishoners said the display is meant to make people think.

"Reading each sign it gives you sadness inside...and you hope that we don't have to add anymore," says worshipper Lisa Mercuri.

Above the manger, a banner reads: "If only you knew the things that make for peace."