Baby Jesus, with a GPS device

1661lgBefore the day is done and I start the bedtime reading rituals for the night, let me share one last tale for this day one of the 2007 Christmas season. You just have to admit that this Miami Herald story is both sad and fun, at the same time.

But first, some context. There are conservatives out there who are convinced that the destruction of Nativity scenes is a rising social phenomenon in our age, a kind of symbolic hate crime for the Christmas wars. How many vandalism cases were there this year? How would one establish that this is some kind of anti-Christian crime wave?

That's the frame around this Herald story by reporter Rodolfo R. Roman (what a byline!), which offers a technological miracle for our age. Enjoy!

In Bal Harbour, the baby Jesus statue is back where it belongs. And just to make sure the statue doesn't go missing again, Jesus, Mary and Joseph will be equipped with GPS tracking devices.

For six years, Dina Cellini has put up a Nativity display in Bal Harbour's Founders Circle. But earlier this month, someone took off with the statue of Jesus. Cincinnati resident Jeffrey Harris read a story about the crime online.

"I felt bad. How could someone steal a baby Jesus?" said Harris, who celebrates Hanukkah, not Christmas.

"Even though I am Jewish, I like the Christmas spirit," said Harris, a civil attorney. So he offered to replace the figurine.

"He's a wonderful human being," Cellini said. "It's so fitting that this negative act ended generously."

But now, Cellini is taking no more chances. In perhaps the ultimate merger of old and new, she plans to add GPS tracking devices to the statues.

A kind, but rather cynical, form of techological salvation. What a world we live in.

Photo: Not the Nativity Scene in question.

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