10 a.m. - 11 a.m.The RCC ChoirFellowship Hour after the Sunday serviceRCC in winterServing together at RCC!Pastor's Bible StudiesWomen's Fellowship
A time of Christian fellowship and getting to know each other better.Sparrow Spirit Choir
10 a.m. - 11 a.m.
A time of Christian fellowship and getting to know each other better.
Rye Congregational Church
Celebrating God’s Love ~ In the Heart of Rye Since 1726
Promoting Christian growth and fellowship in a politics-free zone.
Biblical • Traditional • Independent
Sunday Services at 10 a.m.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. ~ Luke 2:7-8
Growing up, I thought a “manger” was a special kind of bed for the baby Jesus … or maybe not; I guess I really didn’t know what it was. I knew it was called a manger because we had a miniature one in our living room window. It had a wooden frame and some hay in it and Baby Jesus slept there in heavenly peace. In my imagination, I was there too, watching it all happen and rejoicing with the visiting shepherds and the Wise Men and hearing the angels sing by the light of a miraculous star. I liked the Wise Men too.
It was a plastic set, so I was allowed to play with it and re-arrange the figures for the best effect, and re-enact the arrival of the Wise Men, the flight of the angel – all of it. Of course, the saying, “You never know how far is enough until you’ve gone too far,” applies here as well as in most things. I was allowed to play with the plastic nativity scene, provided I didn’t make too much of a mess with the moss and, I would soon find out (here comes the “too far” bit) I did not add plastic dinosaurs and green army men to the scene. (But it was “OK” if they observed all the goings on from a respectable distance on the other side of the living room).
I guess my mother was trying to teach me something about the difference between the sacred and the profane, or secular, as we would say it today. Yes, it was a plastic set, but it was still special. And it became very special to me over the years until I eventually found a new one just like it on eBay, which I much prefer to the fancy Italian made porcelain set my wife sets up on our hearth every year, a gift from her own mother. But I do like that one also and I am now engaged in teaching our cat, Pixie, the same lessons my Mom tried to teach me – yes, you can play, but there are limits.
It seems the whole world needs a lesson these days, and there is no better time than Christmas to make the point that there is a difference between the sacred and the secular and, although it’s OK to be playful in life, there are limits and there are boundaries that should not be crossed. God is watching, and young children are observing and learning, and we should know better sometimes. Baby Jesus made a simple feed trough (that’s what a manger is – from the French verb to eat, I guess) sacred. He made everything sacred: every person, every place, and every moment. Each is unique and each one is special. Sacred things should not be disrespected. That seems basic, but the world still needs that basic education, it seems to me.
Some things should never be used as a bowl to distribute after dinner mints. The fact that it has my family name on it is why it was brought to my attention, but the fact that it was dedicated and used as a baptismal font for many years in a Church is what brings me a sense of sadness and sorrow. It’s sad – and wrong, I think. I want to live in a world that knows the difference between angels and dinosaurs. I was taught that lesson once, and I thank God for the one who taught it to me. I hope honor that gift by teaching it to others this Christmas – I hope we all will.
As I heard tell of this bizarre incident, I wondered how anything like this could ever happen, but this cell phone thing has people walking down the street like zombies right into telephone poles and stepping out into open traffic. Only last week I while I was stopped for a school bus here on Washington Road, I watched two kids come down out of the bus and cross the street to their own driveway. Both had cell phones in their hands. One of them was walking head down as she bumped into the mailbox at the end of the driveway. It’s a new world … heads up, kids.
Merry Christmas, and Happy “Holy Days”!
In God’s Love,
(The Preacher in the Rye)