Churches and communities across Minnesota are beginning to install security systems to prevent thieves from stealing Jesus and Mary from their Nativity scenes.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Christians across the nation now have to use “bolts, cameras, and tethers” to combat the sad trend of Nativity-scene crimes. In that article, three Minnesota towns were highlighted that have seen repeat offenders.
“This year, thieves have raided Nativity scenes in Tennessee, West Virginia, Minnesota, and plenty of other places, and made off with Jesus figurines,” The Times reports.
In Alexandria, for instance, a baby Jesus was robbed from a creche outside a local bed-and-breakfast, whose owners told Echo Press about the incident.
“At first we were very disheartened but in keeping with this joyous season of love and generosity, we decided not to despair,” said Rose and David Gibson, owners of Cedar Rose Inn. “Evidently the person/persons responsible needs Jesus in their lives, as do all Christians.”
In St. Cloud, meanwhile, a Nativity set near the local fire station lost its Jesus figurine to thieves. The Star Tribune reports that the statue was part of a historic set purchased by local schoolchildren in the 1940’s.
Last year, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church had its statue of Jesus stolen a few weeks after Christmas. This year, the Church took additional security precautions, but a statue of the Virgin Mary was stolen from the scene just hours after it was put up.
“I’m really more concerned about the person who has taken this and the state of their soul,” Father Anthony Craig said of the incident. “I’d really value just a conversation with them and to welcome them into our parish.”
“It kind of gives an urgency to our message,” he added, saying it shows “that people aren’t living the Gospel.”
Father Craig and the Gibsons plan to continue with their Christmas tradition, but have said that the recent events have made them “feel a little violated.”
“We’ve never even lost a pumpkin,” Rose Gibson said. “I decorate for all the holidays and I’ve never lost a thing.”
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