Every year, we're told by our various media outlets of a baby Jesus figure being stolen from a nativity scene. This year, we heard that same old news at least twice: once when it happened in Mason, and once when a Cincinnati attorney donated a replacement Jesus for a suburban Miami creche. (I'm not sure why he didn't just replace the Mason Jesus and save himself a long-distance phone bill. I suppose he wouldn't have gotten himself on CNN for doing that.)
I'm sick of hearing these stories.
Blaming the victim is usually wrong. But these nativity-scene owners are at least partially to blame for the kidnapping of Jesus. If they had just held to tradition, baby Jesus might still be safe and sound. It always used to be the case that the baby Jesus figurine/statue/what-have-you wasn't placed in the nativity scene until Christmas Eve. Until then, the manger sat empty. Tradition is a good thing a lot of the time. Displaying a completed nativity scene prior to Christmas Eve is (in my opinion) one more symptom of a general failure to remember the "reason for the season." (The Miami Jesus was stolen sometime before December 5, for you-know-who's sake.) The act of laying the Jesus in a manger on the night before Christmas helps to focus our attention on the religious nature of the holiday. A nativity scene shouldn't be an accessory to a Christmas tree and plastic reindeer (or worse yet, one of those awful inflatable globes with a scene inside).
In fact, every time I drive past a nativity scene with a prematurely-displayed Mary's child, I fantasize about stealing it, only to surreptiously return it late on Christmas Eve. Stealth, however, has never been one of my gifts, so I have no doubt that I'd be caught either taking Jesus or giving him back. With my luck, I'd probably be tased before being taken into custody.
Merry Christmas, everyone.