Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County -- A nativity scene is back in place this holiday season along West Main Street in Schuylkill Haven. It's the second straight year John and Lori Michael placed their $3000 manger setting outside their home health care business Lori's Angels. "We put a little extra added protection here. It's not 100% but it should keep the honest people more honest," said Mr. Michael.
They spent $80 to install the fence that surrounds the nativity. It also cost them $500 to replace the original baby Jesus figure that someone swiped. "I think it's a very sad state of affairs that people don't show any respect for other people's property at all," said Mrs. Michael.
It was early January this year with the holiday season winding down when the Michaels believe kids stole the baby Jesus. Whoever it was also broke off an ear on one of the sheep figures that has since been repaired. The Michaels believe it's as important as ever to display the nativity scene once again. "I think this is what Christmas is about. People need to be reminded. It's not candy canes and Santa Claus and presents that we give to everybody. It's the birth of Jesus that we're celebrating," said Mrs. Michael.
Lori and John Michael plan to put the baby Jesus in the manger setting on Christmas Eve. They just regret they have to use a fence to keep the sacred symbol secure. People who passed by the manger scene feel the same way. "You shouldn't have to do it but it's just the way it is," said Bob Sullivan of Friedensburg. "It's sad. Our culture is really going downhill."
The Michaels don't expect to be targeted again. "I think it was just, you know, hopefully a one time thing," said Mr. Michael. But if someone does, they say they won't be deterred. "If the baby Jesus is stolen again, I don't know. We'll put it on the roof but it will be out," said Mrs. Michael.
The couple plans to keep their nativity scene on display through the week after New Years' to celebrate the Feast of the Nativity.