“What! You want to stage the Nativity scene without the Infant Jesus in the manger? Then there’ll be no God in your manger.”
“That’s right. No God in my manger.”
The Christ Child Festival, an annual celebration, held in the Fort Wayne Coliseum, Indiana, and open free to the public, attempts to visualize the meaning of Christmas without any secular commercialism, including Santa Claus. Booth displays, set up by individuals, organizations, churches, and schools, stage some aspect of the Christmas story.
One Christmas some of my college students and I decided to set up a booth. We selected the theme, No God in my Manger. The manger was filled with a Monolpoly game, a portable TV, bricks sprayed gold, stacks of paper play money, and a red Mustang convertible model with Mary and Joseph staged around the stuff-filled manger. The purpose was to provoke dialogue on the real meaning of Christmas.
Our prayer was that those who visited the booth would come away with pricked consciences from the visualization of how commercialism usurps the holy celebration.
The irony of this whole scenario was that we had contradicted the theme, for there was a god in our crib. It just happened to be the gods we substitute for the Incarnate Christ. So having an empty manger was inconsistent with the theme. Then we reasoned, wait a minute, there is still NO GOD in our manger, at least, not the true and living Almighty One, only other gods fashioned by the creature of the Creator-God.
This Christmas season we can toss out the false gods cluttering our Nativity and be like Mary, who, in her Magnificat bursts forth with “I’m dancing the song of my Savior God,” (Luke 1:47 The Message) had already laid her God in the manger. As Mary picked up her firstborn, her son, and held her Savior God close in her arms, we too can hold our Messiah close for there are no false gods in our manger now.
Do you agree that our society, for the most part, has filled its manger with the “gods of trinkets, toys, and trifles?”