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"Jesus Kidnapped!"

Sometimes that's how Christmas feels to me.

Headlines screamed the abduction. The infant was missing from the city's Nativity. From the reaction, I thought Christmas would be cancelled. Who knew the people of Chicago had such an attachment to a figurine? The life-size statues were all hand carved in Italy, a gift to the city. There was no way to replace this baby Jesus.

It was just a few years ago that Sunday morning visitors to the downtown creche discovered a bare hay mound where the baby had laid. The television stations began nearly 'round-the-clock coverage. Every newscast started with the mayor in a fit of outrage, indignant citizens demanding action, the police chief promising a complete investigation, and teary Nativity committee members standing before the vacant manger pleading for the baby's return-no questions asked.

For three days this went on.

I expected to see artist renderings of Jesus on milk cartons ("Have you seen me?"). Surely the tabloids would commission a computer projection of the baby at various ages, should ...

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