Freedom of Religion-D-Y

04 Dec

In recent years, federal, State, and local governments have increasingly sought to remove God from the public square. Manger scenes have been barred from being on government property and the Ten Commandments has been barred from display in schools, and in court and legislative buildings under the pretext that it would appear to indorse religion. They also have tried to ban songs and displays of Christian themes while they allow Muslim and humanist religious songs and displays. They know and fear how much Christ can affect the culture. That doesn’t prevent churches and individual Christians from doing so on their own property or the private property of others, willing to let you use it. Christmas is a wonderful time to tell everyone the God has come in Christ to redeem His people. When I was young, a lot of people put up displays with all kinds of themes from Christian to Santa Claus, to just cartoon displays with a Christmas theme. After I was married, my wife and I used to go around at Christmas time to see them. Such displays are increasingly rare. More people are switching to simple light displays. My wife and I still go out to see them but it isn’t like it used to be. While a lot of people like to see light displays at Christmas, in response to the increasing darkness in our society, it provides only momentary relief. My wife and I have never had much money to spare because you don’t get rich ministering to the poor, but I have tried to have a display whenever possible. It has ranged from a small picture of a manger scene in my window facing the street, like I have now, to a 4×8 foot board out front displaying the manger scene, to a glassed-in porch covered on all three sides with a scene of the manger in front, flanked on one side by a scene of the wisemen, and on the other by a scene of the shepherds, to tell the Christmas story. We didn’t have lights because it would have run up the electric bill, but it was visible during the day. It gets people to wondering. Why have a display of a baby in a stable? What does it mean? It will get them to asking about the meaning of Christmas, and hopefully get them to research it. If you can include a sign or even a limited range radio broadcast like synchronized light displays have that include Christmas carols and an explanation of the Christmas story, it will help let them know that hope is more than a momentary thrill of seeing a nice light display, it resides in the arrival of Christ who has conquered the darkness that lies in men’s souls.  Every year for over 14 years, our church has had a display of manger scenes that are donated by local residents. It includes over 500 displays and one year had over 700. People walk through the church and view the displays while hymns tell the Christmas story and church members are available to answer questions. Hundreds of people walk through the church viewing the displays. Many have no church connection but just like to see something interesting and are exposed to the real meaning of Christmas. For those interested in creating a manger scene, I have a booklet with outlines that can be used to make a coloring book for the kids, a picture of the manger scene to decorate the house, or can be used to cut out figures from black paper to cover a window that can be seen from the street, available on request.


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