BETHLEHEM (WTXF) - “It's Christmastime and we celebrate Christmas. Jesus was born.”
That's all the reason Dick Schroy needs...
He helps put up the Nativity scene at his church each year -- Zion Evangelistic Lutheran in Zion Hill. That plywood Baby Jesus is planted solid -- you're not moving it.
What is that thing? Embedded in concrete?
“No one's going anywhere with that Baby Jesus -- you could throw your back out trying to get him out of there.”
Good thing. For some reason people steal Baby Jesus this time of year. Dick doesn't want it to happen.
“And they do it to churches -- they do. I... I don't understand people.”
I had been on my way to Bethlehem when I drove through Zion Hill. A woman named Jacqueline Ross is in custody up there for allegedly snatching the Baby Jesus from Bethlehem's City Hall Nativity. Police say Ross then dropped the Baby statue at a local hospital with a note essentially calling Joseph and Mary bad parents. Karen Brynildsen was stumped.
“It just... I just couldn't believe it. Let's put it this way... first of all -- I couldn't believe it -- and then I thought "Here we go again."
Again is right -- happens all the time. Not necessarily to the same Nativity scene in the same town -- but it's a holiday constant. In this case -- Ross is being held on charges of institutional vandalism -- bail's set at 30 thousand dollars. But while in town -- I dropped by the beautiful scene at Christ Church United Church of Christ -- no Baby Jesus in the manger. Had it been stolen? Not quite.
Staffers say the explanation's simple. It's not Christmas -- so Jesus hasn't been born. Fine. But they say when he is placed in the cradle -- he gets tied down with steel cables and zip ties -- why? Because he's been stolen in the past -- and so has the Virgin Mother.
But back to Zion Hill. You Nativity thieves -- whoever you are -- word to the wise. Steer clear of Zion Evangelical's set up. You've been warned.
“Well -- let's just hope the cops get to you before we do. Because it wouldn't be very pretty.”
People love their holiday traditions and that certainly includes Nativity scenes -- and nobody's yet's listed a good reason to run off with Baby Jesus or any other part of it. So if you steal somebody's Nativity and get jail or worse for messing with it -- that's what you get. Dummy. I'm Hank -- that's my take -- and Merry Christmas to you.