Despite the celebration of his birth this past Christmas, baby Jesus was nowhere to be found at Trinity Lutheran Church.
That’s because sometime in the days leading up to the holiday, the figurine was removed from the display in front of the New Hyde Park church.
“You don’t really expect something like this to happen in a neighborhood like New Hyde Park,” congregation President Steve Simon said.
A similar incident occurred several years ago and the figurine never found its way back to the display, Simon said.
Across the street at Notre Dame Church, the entirety of the congregation’s nativity scene is intact.
The church, which also offers a pre-school, put baby Jesus out with the rest of the nativity scene display prior to Christmas. Some traditional practices will not add Jesus’ presence to the nativity until after the day his birth is celebrated, Dec. 25.
According to Simon, someone called the pre-school before the incident and took issue with the fact that the figurine was displayed with the rest of the scene prior to Christmas. Nothing else was said.
Simon and the church have not yet filed a police report, in hopes that the figurine will simply be returned to it’s rightful place, he said.
“It’s something stupid to do, stealing the baby Jesus,” Simon said.
The Lakeville Estates Civic Association of New Hyde Park posted to it’s Facebook page asking residents to search nearby, possibly in bushes, for the potentially discarded figurine.
Association President Bill Cutrone has personally searched dumpsters behind the Lake Success shopping center and trash receptacles, but found nothing, he said.
The nativity set was purchased by civic members Cindy and Neil Verwys, along with one other benefactor, about five years ago and is currently valued in it’s entirety at nearly $3,000, Cutrone said.