Apparently, for some with a vendetta against God, Christmas or the church, or who are merely obsessed with mischief, nativity scenes are of special interest. They come not to gaze at the simple beauty of the holy birth, but to confiscate the infant Savior. A recent news program surprised me with the information that "stealing baby Jesus" is a common practice during the Christmas season.
So, I guess, many churches will have empty mangers this year. Their "baby Jesus" will be tossed into a smelly car trunk or stuffed into a clogged basement or garage. The worshippers will have to replace the figure or simply leave the place of honor empty.
Certainly there is no divinity in the earthly image of the infant Christ, yet it is disturbing that pranksters would choose this particular figure as the victim of their vandalism. Because in a world were the manger is empty, all of living is void as well.
I am thankful that the manger in Bethlehem was not empty; it was filled with the very Son of God, the essence of heaven's love, the incarnation of redemption. Pity those who think stealing baby Jesus is cute; in reality, the only statement they're making is their own lack of understanding. For eternity, for everyone of Adam's race, the manger is always occupied. And blessed are those whose hearts have received him as well.