Nativity scene the stable with Baby Jesus, Mary and a sheep

(alexhstock/iStockPhoto)

Today is just weird nativity news for some reason. First a Welsh nativity play lost its donkeys because one of them hauled off and bit a kid during the birth of Christ, and now a woman is facing charges for stealing the baby Jesus out of its manger and delivering it to a local hospital because she said it was being neglected.

According to the Associated Press, a woman in yoga pants snatched the baby Jesus from a nativity scene in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, wrapped it in a blanket, and took it to a local hospital, saying it had been “neglected” by its parents, whom she named as “Joseph and Mary Christ.”

Apparently, she drove the porcelain doll to a nearby hospital and put it in the “safe haven” bin with a note that read, “Child has broken right foot which is been neglected. Parents Joseph and Mary Christ got a warning.”

The woman was caught by police, and she said it was just a joke, but apparently nobody appreciates her sense of humor. Also, the doll cost $2,700. She was arrested and charged with theft and institutional vandalism.

That seems like a lot for what was admittedly a really stupid prank. It must be annoying to have to protect a nativity scene from shenanigans all the time, because nativity scenes are irresistible troll bait. Sure, they’re nice ways of celebrating Christmas, but has there ever existed a nativity scene that has not been fucked with by random passersby?

I grew up across the street from the Cardinal’s residence in Chicago, and they have a huge nativity scene every year. People can’t resist messing with it. A favorite activity is to try to get a cute Christmas card photo by running up and sticking your dog in the manger and snapping a photo before you get caught. (The manger is empty until Christmas, because that’s when they put their baby Jesus in.) I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone succeed at getting a dog photo, though. That nativity scene is better guarded than the president. The second anyone steps onto the property and starts heading towards the nativity, a staff member manifests out of the building and starts striding towards them with a serious look on his face like, “Not another fucking purse dog in the manger, you have got to be fucking kidding me with this.”

The Bethlehem Pennsylvania manger was not quite so well-guarded as that, but it still had plenty of cameras around to catch the woman stealing the baby Jesus. Most large-scale nativity scenes have security cameras, because the people who put them up know full well that someone is going to try to steal the baby Jesus. People have really got to start remembering that cameras exist, and that even if a nativity scene looks like it’s unattended, you’re going to get caught if you try to steal the baby Jesus.