Kicking The Manger

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Note—No phone or internet connection for a few days. Therefore, no new postings.

Over the weekend, my daughter Eve asked me to borrow my Santa suit. Couldn’t find it. Best I can remember somebody borrowed it last year and never returned it. Searching, Ginny and I pulled out boxe sof Christmas stuff  from front closet, back closet, attic and laundry room. We could not find other decorations we remember too… Therefore, this posting, my diary entry for Tuesday, December 12, 2006:

You’ve got to kick our manger to start it.

Ginny & I think like tightwad skinflint Scrooges when it comes to buying Christmas gifts. All year long we shop at garage sales, jumbles, and thrift stores to buy gifts for the many people we care about — but can’t afford to get things for in the local Family Dollar Store.

Yesterday we examined a unique manger scene we’d acquired for only $3.98.

Let me emphasize that this item is a decoration only; it is paint and plaster and a computer chip. It bears no more religious significance to our actual faith than had it been a replica of a Daytona 500 race car.

Actually this device combines a tabletop fountain with a manger scene, a music box, and a motion sensor.

Some puzzled coolie worker in the Orient assembled this machine with no concept of western taste, religious or secular.

Ginny put batteries in the base and filled the reservoir with water. She flipped the switch on.

Nothing happened.

I glued the wisest of the wise men back in place. (I call him the wisest of the wise because he was the only one trying to escape).

She figured it was broken. But $3.98 is no great loss if it did not work.

I fiddled with the device and discovered the motion sensor is out of whack — but, when you kick the manger, the star lights up, water flows over the waterfall, and the angel sings “Up On The Roof Top Reindeer Pause, Out Jumps Good Old Santa Claus”.

Actually, the angel does not so much sing as stand aghast at the tinny tintinnabulations of a western song played to notes on some oriental scale… Picture Andre Rieu with a kazoo instead of his Stradivarius .

The Crèche must play 15 or 20 such songs, but at the end of each piece of music, the star goes out and the waterfall ceases.

Yes, the trouble is, with the sensor out of whack, the only way this wonderful manger scene will start again is for someone to kick the coffee table it sits on.

Ginny and I sat for an hour taking turns kicking the manger, laughing our heads off, and trying to guess what possible song the thing was playing at the moment. “Jingle Bells” and “O Holy Night” we recognized; but much other music left us mystified.

Now, some folks might be offended by a Nativity Display that plays “Rudolph” but I delight in the combining of secular celebration with the holiest of Christian doctrines.

We do one because it’s fun; we observe the other because it’s real.

From the time our kids were tiny, we taught them that we all pretend there is a Santa because that’s so much fun; and that we worship Jesus Christ because He is God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, Emanuel come down to earth as a helpless baby to save us from our sin.

It’s hard to confuse the two facets of Christmas, secular and holy.

All indications from Scripture are that Jesus enjoyed secular celebrations like weddings and harvest feasts as well as Passover.

He enjoyed a firm grasp of reality.

The holy and the fun, each in its place, or both blend together with common sense and joy.

Some malls ban employees saying Merry Christmas in favor of Happy Holiday; some churches advocate renouncing decorated trees and giving gifts.

I think both parties need to get real!

Celebration, exuberance and joy are in our very nature. A hunger for the Holy One, a longing for His reality, a thirst for the pure joy of His presence is also deep seated within every heart.

What’s to confuse?

To deny either one is to warp reality.

People aren’t too dumb to know the difference.

It’s odd but I think one of the songs our Creche plays is the Easter hymn, “Christ The Lord Is Risen Today”, the very essence of the good news the angels proclaimed.

Another song on the menu contains the lines:

Long lay the world in sin and error pinning
Till He appeared and the soul found its worth”.

Heavy stuff.

Wonderful stuff.

The essence of Christmas joy…

Such thoughts excite me, but, I’ll get down off my soapbox now.

Ginny and I intend to keep our treasured manger. It works fine if you kick it. I could try to repair it but as Ginny said, “How can you tell if it’s broken?”

So, we intend to keep kicking our manger to start the fountain, light the star and play the music.

No we aren’t planning to give it to anyone else as a gift.

Some gifts are just too, too good to pass on.

Also, there is that Scripture about not casting pearls before swine …(Er, not that I think there’s anything wrong with swine, you understand).

My camera is still broken so I can’t post a photo of our manger scene.

That’s a shame.

Because our kickable manger is unique.

In fact, Ginny said, “I’ll bet we’re the first ones on our block to own one of these things”.

Note: Tomorrow (Dec. 14th) is the last day for the 25% discount offered on my books by Lulu Press, the company which prints my books. For your discount, enter the code COUNTDOWN at Lulu checkout.

• Please, visit my website for more and feel free to look over and buy one of my books, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. felisol
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 13:36:31

    Dear John C,
    Hope you get your camera fixed soon. (Don’t try to kick it). I cannot wait to see the kick-working manger in a waterfall. My imagination isn’t that good!

  2. Eve
    Dec 13, 2011 @ 23:41:44

    : ) Did you know your Crackers and Carpetbaggers is listed as a source material for the Nineth Judical Circuit court site? I found it as I hunted for you on twitter. Plus I got a double dose of bloggy goodness today as I also found a link for your guest post on the Church of No people : )

    Love you,