Thanks to the generosity of five-year-old Brittany Bogan, St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Delaware, Ohio, again has a complete Nativity scene.
For 20 years, people have been visiting St. Mark’s to look at their Christmas display. It has 15 life-sized figurines, all secured in place with wire cables. Around December 8 of this year, vandals cut the wires holding the infant Jesus in His crib and stole it.
Brittany took part in a children’s play at the church on December 15 and noticed the empty manger. Her first reaction when learning about the theft was to say: "That’s awful! Why would somebody do that?"
Her second reaction was to bring in a replacement Jesus: one of her favorite dolls wrapped in a blanket. St. Mark’s pastor, Rev. William Saunders, accepted it, saying "This is a special doll" and describing it as "kind of cute." The church members were "touched by Brittany’s gift."
Rev. Saunders received an offer from a parishioner to buy another figurine; but since the set is very old, finding one would be very difficult. Even if one could be located, its price might be out of their price range.
He believes the theft was only a prank. "You hope ... (they) will realize what they’ve done and return the statue" by next Christmas. If not, Brittany would probably be willing to loan her doll again!