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Abducting Jesus from a Crib

December 27, 2009 | 4 Comments

Mr. Keillor,

I am a receptionist at a Lutheran retirement community here in Mount Pleasant. We have an issue, whether baby Jesus should be put in the manger of the creche before Christmas morning. We of other faiths think that by the time the wise men arrived, baby Jesus would most certainly have been available. Several members of our community, though, insist that baby Jesus cannot be seen until Christmas morning, and they plot to steal him away (totally without humor, I might add) before the day of the blessed event.

I am hoping that you will be willing to venture into this dangerous territory.


Paige Van Pelt
Mount Pleasant, S.C.


This is a danger of retirement for Lutherans, Paige: they will turn their intellectual powers to small things and make large things out of them. They were brought up to be kind and defer to others and not make a big issue of things, but this wore off and now they are abducting Jesus from a crib, and before long they may turn to bank robbery. Lutherans are industrious people. They are bred for work. If you drive them into retirement, they will go bad. Your crafts program may be to blame — instead of putting the oldsters to work painting landscapes or weaving or carving, you should put them to work cleaning and vacuuming and baking and canning. And digging would be good. You need a work program at your retirement community. You could put them into orange jumpsuits (so they don't get run over) and have them pick up trash by the roadsides. I have other ideas, if these don't work out.


Dear Mr. Keillor,

I am Jewish, and a long time fan of your show, and writing. As a consertive, I tend to agree with you about the so called "War on Christmas." It does not offend me in the least if people wish each other Merry Christmas though I don't celebrate the holiday myself. But, I was somewhat taken aback by your outburst regarding Jewish guys writing bad charols which trash up mall sound systems. I've tried to give you the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps, had I heard these comments on your radio show, the humor may have been better understood. After all, you lovingly point out the foibles of your fellow Lutherans all the time. However, they way your comments were reported, and the tone the convey when read verbatim, convey the criticism, but not the love.


Moshe Morgenstern
Morristown, NJ

Ms. Van Pelt,

The answer to your question is far simpler than you think. Ask a Catholic New Orleanian.

Place Baby Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning and leave Him there until January 6 for Epiphany when the Magi traditionally arrive. You must keep your tree until the Magi get there. If you extinguish your star, the Magi will be forced to wonder your retirement community with no direction for the rest of the year.

After the Magi arrive, the tree can come down, parades can roll, and Mardi Gras begins.


Leon Edmond
New Orleans, Louisiana

I read Moshe's comment BEFORE I read THE CHRISTMAS DIVIDEND (Old Scout column) and thought, "hmmm. criticism without love. If one has a thin skin, one could get offended by any number of statements made in those columns." Well, I've just read the column in question and found it less acerbic than A LITTLE CHRISTMAS JOY AND A LOT OF NEW YORK ATTITUDE. So what if my nose was pinched? It's good to hear a master of the language share thoughts so many of us have had, but never put in writing so efficiently or to such hilarious effect. Good job, Mr. Keillor...keep the wit coming and don't feel the need to put LOLs and smiley faces after your comments. Moshe, give Garrison the benefit of the doubt again, let him be real, and remember the rabbi's quip to the priest who fornicated.

George Vukelich (author of "A North Country Notebook") had a humorous essay about this once. Seems his parish priest "couldn't find Jesus"; the little statue was missing, and he didn't know what to do.

It was pointed out that Christ came into this world as a new-born baby, and it didn't make sense for him to be "on display" with everybody arranged around him like he was the center of attention in a theater of the round. Instead, it would be more realistic if everybody were crowded around instead of keeping their distance; and the animals up close, their breath and body heat helping to keep the infant warm.

The end result was that the creche was set up, but everybody was gathered round the manger; Mary and Joseph; the animals; the shepherds. The infant could not be seen, but it's our belief and faith that tells us He is there.

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