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Christmas Came Early for the Church That Found a Newborn Baby In Its Nativity Scene

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nativity-manger-sceneIn a scene right out of Ally McBeal, a newborn baby was just discovered abandoned in the Jesus spot in a nativity scene in New York, and now families are queuing up to apply to adopt him.

According to New York, a newborn baby boy was discovered Monday afternoon in the Jesus spot of a nativity scene at the Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens, New York. Caretaker Jose Moran had set the scene up on Monday morning, and he said he heard crying when he came back from lunch early that afternoon. Once he realized that the crying was not coming from a baby in the church with its parents, he followed the sound to the nativity scene, where he found the baby tucked into the crib in front of the Virgin Mary.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes. The baby was wrapped in towels. He still had his umbilical cord. He was next to the Virgin,” Moran said.

The crib would have been empty at this time of year. Nativity scenes at churches are often set up sometime in November, but the crib is left empty until Christmas, when the Baby Jesus figure is added. This particular nativity just got its star player a little earlier than usual.

Moran and Father Christopher Ryan Heanue notified the authorities, and the baby was taken to the hospital, where he was examined and declared to be in good health. Doctors at the hospital estimated that he was only four or five hours old.

One’s heart goes out to the poor little baby, and also to the woman who thought she had no other options than to leave him in the nativity scene in a church. The woman who left this baby clearly wanted someone to find and care for it. I mean, you don’t stick a baby in the Jesus crib if you aren’t hoping for a miracle. But she did have better options. New York has safe haven laws that allow women to safely give up newborn babies at hospitals, firehouses, churches, and police stations, which is meant to allow a woman to give up a newborn without killing it, exposing it to the elements, or putting it in a potentially life-threatening situation. I can only assume that a woman leaving a baby in a nativity scene was overwhelmed by the situation and was not fully aware of her options. Luckily, the baby is safe and healthy.

If found, the mother could potentially face charges for having left the baby without telling anyone where he was. Safe haven laws allow babies to be left at churches, but one is meant to notify someone that the baby is there. The crib in the nativity scene is not meant to be a drop-off box.

Several families in the church parish have reportedly expressed interest in adopting the manger scene baby. I hope things turn out OK for that little guy, and for his parents.

(Photo: Pianissimo/iStockPhoto/Getty Images)