The day after Christmas day, Clark Armstrong, Pastor of Victory Hills Nazarene Church, 6200 Parallel, Kansas City, Kan., and his lovely wife, Connie, woke up to find that the Baby Jesus had been stolen from the manger scene in front of their home in western Wyandotte County.
More than the obvious appreciation of the Christmas story, the ceramic figures had great value to the Armstrongs. The ten piece set had been hand crafted by Kerry and Connie Haney in 1998, a memorial to Mrs. Haney’s mother, Marilyn Dow and donated to Amstrong for his services to the family.
Armstrong, a chaplain to the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department, refused to register the theft as a crime. Surely the foolish young prankster who had taken the figure was not a criminal and, if the act went on record and he was found, the black mark would follow him all of his life. Armstrong would not allow that to happen.
However, the neighbors there in The Meadows housing development took it seriously. Next door to the Armstrongs, 11-year old Abby Woodall sent out the word and several other young people set to work to scour the area. For two days they searched the entire territory including the nearby lake but found no sign of the Baby Jesus.
Abby’s father, serving in the military in Afghanistan, was notified of the unhappy event. Woodall told several Baptist church members in his troop and they sympathetically prayed for the return of the image of the Christ Child.
Armstrong gave his flock at the church an update the following Sunday.
“When a bunch of Baptist Christians go to prayer, something has got to move!” Armstrong said.
The Baby Jesus was returned to them that afternoon. Jalynda Cervantez saw the story on the Channel 9 TV news and brought the image of the Holy Child and carefully laid it in its place in the crèche. She had found it on top of her car when she woke up on the day after Christmas day, along with lots of real estate “For Sale” signs. Apparently someone wanted it to be funny.
Perhaps two facts are evident from this story. The first being American Christians still have reverence for the Babe that was born in a manger, and second, when Christian believers, of any church denomination, join together and pray, “something has got to move!”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 (King James Version)