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In a business magazine I read, there was an article about a company, imaginary I hope, that was planning its Christmas sales campaign. The board of directors was puzzled how they could beat their competitors, then suddenly the chairman had an idea. "We’ll have a crib," he said, getting very excited. "We’ll have the most expensive manger in the world. We’re about to put Christmas back into Christmas!" From then on there was no stopping them. They decided on a slogan lifted from the New Testament, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

The chairman told his sales staff, "We’ll have to emphasise the variety of gifts available. See to it that the Oriental Kings are handing a proper assortment of presents to the Holy Infant." And he went through a great catalogue of the goods they sold. The sales staff arranged their goods in a great pyramid, topped with a stable with the animals, and Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus giving their blessing to all the merchandise. When the chairman saw it he was delighted as he thought of all the money they would make. And then he began to scowl. He called to his manager, "What’s that thing on top?" "It’s the manger, sir." "We don’t sell mangers, do we?" "Well, throw it out!" he shouted. Only a parable, but all too close to the truth of what passes for Christmas.

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