BUTTE – When the Andrea and Jack McCormick returned to their Keokuk Street home on New Year’s Day after being gone a few days, they noticed the most important figure in their Nativity scene was gone.
“It was just sort of the thing you’d always feared had finally happened,” said Andrea McCormick.
The figurine of the Baby Jesus was part of a historic nativity scene that was first displayed at the St. Helena church in the long-lost Butte neighborhood of Meaderville more than 60 years ago.
“Oh, I was just crushed, because I knew my uncle, who had originally owned the set was always cautious about putting it out because they were always afraid the figures might be taken,” McCormick said.
Andrea McCormick, who is 66, remembers seeing this Nativity when she was a little girl at the St. Helena Church in Meaderville, before the church and the neighborhood were removed to make room for open pit mining in the 60s.
“The priest would carry the baby and place him in the Midnight Mass,” she recalled.
After making pleas on social and local media for the return of the baby, Jack McCormick went out to his mailbox and found a surprise lying in the snow Thursday morning.
“He came in with a big grin on his face say, ‘guess what I found,’” said McCormick.
The baby was left with two posted notes attached with messages from someone claiming to be God. “And they said God had taken his son on a trip and now he was returning him,” said McCormick.
Now, the McCormicks have no hard feelings for whoever it was that took the baby Jesus. They’re just happy that whoever did it decided to do the right thing and bring him back where he belongs.
“Whoever took it, whatever they’re reasons, I’m so glad they chose to return it,” she said.
The figurine represents a neighborhood that long since disappeared.
“There’s still a lot of people out there with Meaderville memories. It was a fabulous neighborhood and a very devoted church congregation,” McCormick said.
-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News