Young Christians stage living nativity after mall bans manger scene
STIRLING, Scotland, December 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – When a shopping mall refused to host a nativity scene last week, two friends decided to make themselves into one.
John Mallon, 27, of Glasgow and Elena Feick, 30, of Paisley dressed up as Joseph and Mary with the Child Jesus after news reports appeared that the Thistles Centre shopping mall in Stirling, a city 40 minutes north of Edinburgh, would not permit a traditional manger scene to become part of its Christmas display.
According to the Scottish Daily Record, the Catholic Legion of Mary had asked the Thistles Centre if they could put up the nativity scene. In response, the mall’s management gave the group the brush-off, saying it would not be “right” to host such a display.
“Thistles prides itself on being religiously and politically neutral in its behaviour,” said a spokesman. “With this in mind, we do not feel it would be right to host this type of promotion in a shopping centre.”
The Catholic Archdiocese of St. Andrews and Edinburgh pronounced this decision “a little Grinch-like,” and a spokesman for the Church of Scotland said, “When a shopping centre can focus purely on commercialism to the exclusion of the reason for the celebration of Christmas, it is a sad day for all of us.”
Mallon and Feick, however, took some action. They dressed up as St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary to share the true meaning of Christmas at Thistle Centre. An unusually talkative St. Joseph (there are no quotes from Joseph in the Bible) introduced himself and the Holy Family to shoppers and explained that they were there because the mall would not permit the traditional “crib.”
“It was fun,” the ebullient Mallon told LifeSiteNews. “It was terrific to be there and share our faith.”
He said that the best part was the initial reactions of the shoppers when they saw them – smiles all around.
“The shoppers loved us,” Mallon said. “No objections from shoppers.”
Mallon also enjoyed the look of shock on the mall Santa’s face. But Santa smiled, too.
“Upstaging good old St. Nick,” Mallon enthused. “But he seemed to welcome us and be jolly.”
Mallon and Feick wanted particularly to underscore that Christmas is about Christ because their Catholic Christian faith “is undermined in the public sphere.” They also wanted to spread some authentic Christmas merriment.
“The holiday needs more humor and more joy,” Mallon told LifeSiteNews.
“Isn’t Christmas about Jesus and the joy of his birth? We brought a little of that to the Centre,” he continued.
“The Christ child came to this world in secret. We came to Thistles in secret. But like [with] Jesus, the whole world would soon know.”
Security guards, refusing to speak to “St. Joseph” and “St. Mary,” asked their cameraman Brian to stop filming. The trio complied, and the “Holy Family” walked around a little longer before deciding there was no room in that inn.
To respectfully ask Thistles Centre to reconsider the nativity ban, please contact:
Thistles Shopping Centre
Tel: +44 178 640-0055
Fax +44 178 646-5443