Christmas Manger!

Dear Fellow Christians,

Here is an idea that you can help get started as a fellow Christian. I have suggested this to some friends and they either love it or hate it. But, it is very interesting how it grows on you when you think about it for a bit. I hope you read through my suggestion before dismissing it out of hand, because it is only suggested for some very obvious reasons.

My suggestion is a simple one, but if it is implemented by just one individual it can have a rather unbelievable effect on the Christian family. What if by next Christmas we all quietly implement my suggestion with out a lot of fanfare, but with conviction of our faith and trust in what is right? You never know what big things come from very little action. And, in one small endeavor, Christmas could be once again a holiday based on the birth of Christ as the first and utmost focal point of our celebrations. Now, wouldn’t that be something? ....How you ask? Glad you did!

My suggestion is simply. I am suggesting that Christians not make the "Christmas - tree" as the focal point of their family’s Christmas celebrations.

What if we put up, instead of the "tree" and empty manger? As we receive and prepare to give gifts, we can simply place the pretty wrapped boxes just as easily around a manger as under a tree.

Those who have small children, who still participate in the "Santa Claus" traditions, can still do so. The only difference is that on the night he comes, we place a baby doll in the manger as well to represent the much anticipated birth. Now, I am not talking about a small ceramic nativity sets that we all place on the mantel at Christmas. No. These mangers have to be full size. The focal point of our celebrations.

When a family is expecting a new birth, there are many signs in the home in the anticipation of it’s arrival. That same expectation and excitement can be built and felt each year in our Christian homes. The anticipation of a new member into the family...that of the Christ Child.

Doesn’t it make more sense to gather around a "crib" than a tree? After all, we are not celebrating the Christmas "squirrel", but the birth of the Christ Child. We can show, and at the same time, teach our children that Christmas is mainly the celebration of the greatest gift given to mankind. That the presents and gifts we exchange represent the gifts given to Christ in celebration of His birth.

Can’t you see this in your mind’s eye? For weeks you have had this manger (cradle) as the focal point of your celebration. Maybe you have set up a low beam of light on it and have had one of your children place a small blanket in it’s center to be used to wrap the baby in when He arrives. On Christmas Eve, when all the children are off to bed and it’s time for ol’ St. Nick to arrive, we can also place a baby doll in the manger and wrap it up in the small blanket that has been waiting for it for all these weeks. We might have strung some lights to represent the stars, and placed a stronger beam of light on the manger now to represent the light from the star of Bethlehem.

Come on....use your imagination. I know you can make this work and be beautiful at the same time. I know there are many creative and ingenious ways to pull this off. You might suggest that the youth group at your church make the first mangers as a fund-raiser for those who choose to embrace this new tradition. Imagine, no more Christmas - tree fires. The possibilities are endless. When family and friends come to celebrate, you all can gather around the manger to sing carols.

I know old habits and traditions are hard to change and there will be great resistance from those who "love to decorate," but I feel those who want to bring back the true meaning of Christmas would gladly leap at this opportunity.

The money you would save alone could be shared with those less fortunate and the true meaning of Christmas would be felt around the world.  If you like this idea...pass it on to your fellow Christians.

art_by_evelyn@hotmail.com

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