The baby Jesus figure often appears in nativity scenes Christmas Day to mark His arrival.
So Oak Bay artist Paul Redchurch was stunned when he went out for a walk with his wife to check out the lights in their neighbourhood and discovered his was missing.
“There was no damage – just the abduction,” Redchurch told the Oak Bay News.
He’s confident someone swiped the figure some time in the 24 hours prior to his Dec. 28, 7 p.m. revelation.
A longtime resident, Redchurch is a self-taught artist who works in pen and ink, watercolours and acrylics and belongs to groups such as the Oak Bay Community Artists Society and Goward House Painters.
This year he retouched his hand-painted creche scene. It was an original piece he created a few years ago to replace its predecessor – also stolen.
“One spends one’s time, talent and resources to brighten up the neighbourhood, in keeping with the festive occasion, only to have some knucklehead burst the balloon.” Redchurch said.
The well-lit nativity scene sits on Monterey Avenue, just around the corner from the police department
He doesn’t plan to pay a ransom but hopes the figure returns.
This isn’t the first time a well-loved piece of holiday decor has disappeared in Oak Bay.
In November 2021, a handful of Peanuts characters were swiped from Entrance Park on The Avenue. A classroom replaced the missing Charlie Brown, his sister Sally and devoted dog Snoopy.
There’s still hope for the baby Jesus. This summer, the original Peanuts characters were unceremoniously dumped where they were swiped eight months earlier.
Redchurch is confident the figure has his name and phone number on the back, should anyone find it.
“It just makes me feel a little sick. He’ll probably just end up dumped somewhere or in the creek,” he said, noting the piece was replacing one stolen six or seven years ago.
“I doubt it’s the same person trying to make a collection of them,” he said with a chuckle. “They’re certainly too big to fit in a scrapbook.”
While trying to find the humour, the damage to his contribution to community does hit him right in the gut.
“It’s annoying. But I’m willing to forgive, it’s the Christian thing to do,” he said. “It’s probably just a prank. They don’t think it through. It seems funny but isn’t.”
In the meantime, he’s garnering empathy from the neighbourhood, where many seem surprised it could happen there.
“But I can’t sit out there all night with a shotgun,” Redchurch said. “Besides, they probably need Jesus more than I do.”
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