WATERLOO, Ill. (AP) -- A southwestern Illinois church is making the theft of a baby Jesus figurine from its outdoor Nativity scene part of its lesson plan.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that officials with St. Paul United Church of Christ noticed that Jesus was missing from the display Sunday.
An associate pastor wonders if the theft is a prank or a statement that Jesus shouldn't be in the manger until Christmas. The church hasn't contacted police, hoping that the figure will be returned by the holiday.
The church is making use of the episode as a launching point to talk about what it means to have Jesus missing in one's life and how people can celebrate his return.
The church's outdoor sign also now reads, "We're searching for Jesus, are you?"
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com
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