“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 Coliseum, Fort Wayne, 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 I decided to set up a booth at the Festival and selected the theme, No God in my Manger. The manger was filled with a Monopoly Game, a portable TV, sprayed gold bricks, stacks of paper play money, and a model red Mustang convertible with Mary and Joseph staged around the stuff-filled manger. The purpose was to provoke dialogue on the real meaning of Christmas.
The irony of this whole scenario was that I had contradicted the theme, “No God in my Manger,” 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 I reasoned, wait a minute, there is still NO GOD in my manger, at least, not the true and living Almighty One, but only false gods fashioned by the creature of the Creator-God.
My prayer was that those who visited our booth would come away with pricked consciences from the visualization of how commercialism usurps the holy celebration.
This Christmas season I can toss out the false gods cluttering my nativity and be like Mary, who in her Magnificat, bursts forth with “I’m dancing the song of my Savior God” (Luke 2:7 The Message). She had already laid her God in the manger. As Mary picked up her firstborn, her son Jesus, and cuddled her Savior God in her arms, I too can”cuddle” my Messiah for there are no false gods in my manger now.
Is your manger, for the most part, filled with the “gods of trinkets, toys, and trifles” or
is it filled with the living God, Jesus?