The Elf on the Shelf, the Mensch on the Bench or the Light in the Night

December 15, 2014

For a long, long time, Santa had to patrol the world alone to find the “naughty or nice” kids. Then he hired an Elf on the Shelf. Now Santa’s helper, the Elf on the Shelf, fulfills that mission, according to the “About us” page of

The Mensch on the Bench brings Holiday fun to Jewish children. Who is the Mensch on the Bench? His creator, Neal Hoffman, states in The Jerusalem Post that he is “A Jewish version of the wildly popular Elf on the Shelf toy; the doll and book set retells the Hanukkah story and explains what it means to be a “mensch”, a Yiddish word meaning person of honor” (

While the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench are light-hearted fun, they shouldn’t steal the show. The most important figure of the Holiday Season is the Light in the Night. Hundreds of years prior to Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah wrote about Him, saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) Dispelling any doubt about who Isaiah was referring to, Jesus Himself declared in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

In January, the Elf on the Shelf will be packed away in the attic, and the Mensch on the Bench will be carefully wrapped and stored with all the Holiday decorations. Without the Light in the Night, those who live in darkness will still be in darkness; the fearful and the lonely will not have changed. Those who suffer bondage and despair will not see a way out. But there is a way out! There is life and hope in Jesus, the Light in the Night.

We can live without the Elf on the Shelf, and we can lead a normal life never having a Mensch on the Bench; but we cannot live without the Light in the Night – Jesus! And that is the reason why He is the central figure of the Holiday Season!


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