Big Black Christmas Box

There’s a battle brewing in the frozen tundra of Green Bay Wisconsin but it has nothing to do with football or Lambeau or Favre.

On the overhang of the entry to City Hall is a display of the manger scene. When someone protested loud enough about the Christian symbolism and church/state concerns, they were allowed to place a Wiccan symbol alongside it. Within hours, a vandal climbed up and removed and destroyed the Wiccan symbol. As you can imagine, a firestorm was ignited and continues at City Hall about what, if any, displays should adorn civic property during the Christmas holiday season.

Good honest, passionate people have had their say in some extended public forums. A few have come off a little nutty but this is America and people get their say. I like that.

As I ponder over this situation, I find myself bewildered as to what I favor as the outcome. On one hand, I am a Christian and I find it a matter of concern that Christian symbols and icons have been increasingly removed from the public square. On the other hand I am asking what real benefit there is to having a nativity scene on display at all. I mean really…… what real spiritual benefit is being realized by these displays?

When people pass the scene of babe in manger….Joseph…. Mary…animals…wise men…what do they think? Is there a thought about what all this means? How much of a faith statement is this?

I really don’t want to be an old Scrooge here……but really….do these displays bring about anything worthwhile? Maybe it’s a subliminal thing. Maybe there is a sub-conscious thing going on that makes them worthwhile. Now I confess I don’t know everything. If there’s some guy out there named Herb, who says he came to believe in the Messiah’s claims after viewing a manger scene on civic property, then I will issue an apology.

What I really suspect is that these displays are only effective if those who observe them, bring some meaning to them. If we don’t gaze upon the manger and think of the incarnation of God and our own redemption etc. , is there truly any worthwhile experience going on? I mean…..if we don’t bring anything to the equation, is there any loss to having the nativity scene removed?

So here’s my solution. Let’s place an empty box…..a BIG BLACK BOX in the public squares of America. When people pass by, they must each individually bring their own meaning to the icon. In these postmodern times this should really work out well.

For a Christian, they can think of the nativity scene or any other Christian scene they choose. A Wiccan can envision their own symbol. Jews, Muslims, Buddhists….everyone can bring to the equation (the big black box) whatever meaning they desire. Oh yeah….and the secularists….atheists….agnostics can look at the empty box and be satisfied that they’ve finally achieved their goal. Nothing…..absolutely nothing. What could be better?

OK…..so I’m only half serious about this being an answer to anything. I don’t warm up to the idea of big black boxes any more than you.

But I am entirely serious about this one thing…..

As Christians we must realize that our faith is more about the expression of faith in real life than in icons and displays. We get all bent out of shape when someone wants to remove a display but bottom line:

We can display Christ in our attitudes and lives any time and few will complain.

Display a giving attitude toward a needy person, hungry person, an orphan, a poor widow……with no strings attached and you will garner few protests. Do good, kind things to people as dispensers of God’s grace. (1 Peter 4:10) I’m not saying that Christian works will never bring on criticism, but as of now at least, in America, you can give and serve and love others without a lot of protest.

Keep in mind that Jesus (John 13:35) says that everyone will know we are disciples of His if we will just love one another.

So put Him on display. Right now in this season and at every turn. Put Him on display in the public square, the town hall, the public school, the courthouse, on the street, in the city, in the country.

Let Jesus be seen…….. in you.

Merry Christmas
from me
&
Linus
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About Gary Cleveland

An old chunk of coal waiting to become a diamond some day. I spend the bulk of my time focused on spiritual development. I teach, preach and stand by the hurting and wounded. I believe our heavenly Father offers us daily opportunities to discover who we are and what we can yet become. I serve as a bringer of good news in and around the city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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2 Responses to Big Black Christmas Box

  1. preacherman says:

    Yet another great post. I want you to know that your blog has been an encouragement to my faith this past year. I hope to keep reading future posts and hope that you have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    In Him,
    Kinney Mabry

  2. Wayne says:

    I ponder the same thing when I hear some Christmas songs. Then, interestingly enough, I was listening to the words of one as I spent time visiting my mom in a nursing home. She is cripple, blind, incontinent, and has dementia-not really doing too well. But we sang Christmas songs. In one song the words went “Hark the herald angels sing glory to the new born King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinner reconciled.” It caused me to recall God and sinner reconciled-that’s what it’s all about. Perhaps someone sees that manager scene and recalls what they learned when they were young. Who knows!
    Wayne

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