This is truly a Christmas tale.
It starts with a modern-day Scrooge.
A Scottish shopping mall decided to ban the display of a Christmas crib. The shopping mall owners flaunted their decision stating that it proclaimed the “Good News” of how politically correct they were and displayed how they favored no religion.
As if anyone cared what the owners of a shopping mall thought about politics or religion. And, why a shopping mall in a small Scottish city felt the need to eradicate a Christian symbol from a holiday season that only makes sense on account of that symbol and the Child it represents was baffling.
Given some of things that have been happening in modern Scotland, low level sectarianism and high level demands that Catholic schools adhere to government guidelines around the family that bear no relation to Catholic teaching, sadly, one is not surprised at all.
Today, most Christians are resigned to the fact that they live in a society who views their beliefs as “out of step” with the mainstream and worthy of only contempt. Certain quarters of the British media would have heard with glee the news of the shopping mall’s ban of the Christmas crib as yet further evidence of the inevitable decline in a nation’s Christian heritage.
There were two Christians who thought otherwise though.
Meet John Mallon and Elena Feick.
The two young Catholics decided to protest the mall’s decision. If a group of banner-waving and angry Christians had turned up, then the media and the mall would have had a field day. “See how right we were to ban religion, given how nasty its representatives appear”, they might have observed.
John and Elena did something different, however.
They came dressed as St. Joseph and the Virgin Mary.
They came looking for “room at the inn”.
It is all on YouTube and is a glory. The good humor of the “Holy Family” and the warm support they received from all the mall shoppers showed how silly and insulting was the original mall decision to ban the crib.
Then, like Scrooge, having been shown a better path – and canny enough to see a public relations disaster on their hands — the mall relented and reversed its earlier decision. Not only that, but they invited the Legion of Mary to come and build the crib. One suspects when it does go up there will be lots of visitors coming to see it, despite, or maybe because, of the modern-day “Herods”.
This is an unusual Christmas tale, all caught on camera, and well worth a view.
It is also a Christian victory using “weapons” of good humor, humility, and, above all, daring. It took guts to go to a shopping mall dressed as the Holy Family, where, just as 2000 years earlier, the only welcome could have been indifference or hostility.
John and Elena should be voted Scotland’s Catholics of the Year and no mistake.