09 December 2007

Jesus Goes Missing

We had a busy full day one Monday in December last year. The Christmas tree was up. We'd strung the lights. The crib scene was sitting out in the back of the chapel. There was a movie playing on the TV and there was a very long line at the office for cards.

At 11, the chapel cleared and peace descended. Of sorts. Someone discovered that Baby Jesus was missing from the manger.

We'd only had one unit in the chapel over the past two hours, but that meant about 175 offenders had been in and out. I called the sergeant of the unit.

"I'm calling to report a missing person," I told him.

"Really?" He sounded puzzled. "Name?"

"Jesus," I said, "first name Baby."

He laughed.

I gave him a description. Jesus was about half as long as my thumb, infant, not adolescent.

He promised to look into it.

Much later that afternoon, the sergeant came to my office and held out a closed fist. I opened my hand and he placed Baby Jesus in it.

They'd done a full-scale search in the unit. Every room was gone through. Someone said that someone had heard that someone had it.... and eventually, Jesus was recovered.

He made it back to the chapel with some gang tattoos on his body.

The next Sunday, I told the story to the men who'd come to services. "The Word of God became human, to be one like us--tattoos and all, I think."

Baby Jesus is now superglued into his manger.

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