Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

12/20/02

Keeping the Christmas Spirit Alive

"Well it's Christmas, I enjoy watching people and I enjoy people coming by to look at it and say how beautiful it is," says local resident, Jesse Johnson. From colorful lights to Santa's sleigh.. Jesse Johnson's front lawn is decked out for the holidays.

There's something you might not expect to see, the good shepard and the Virgin Mary behind bars. "Strictly vandalism, mischief and stuff like that. Last Saturday evening we had a Christmas party here for our Sunday school class and they cut the chain and got in..it's not a very big chain but it should tell them I didn't want them in," Johnson says.

Vandalism forces Jesse to lock up his decorations every Christmas. "Oh they've strung the lights clear across the streets and broke em, they stole the wisemen out of the cage." He says it's happened six out of the past nine years. "Sure it's mean, there's no respect for another mans property at all," he says.

This year, he says things went a little too far. Somebody broke into the nativity scene, stole baby Jesus, and left a disturbing note. "It was a letter almost a threatening type letter telling me baby Jesus wasn't born behind bars and that I should never decorate again and they were retrieving him so that I should just tear everything down," Johnson says.

Either way, vandalism won't damper Jesse's holiday spirit, the cage was designed simply to protect his nativity scene. "Why do you continue to do it? Cause I enjoy it, I'm just not gonna let them whip me." In other words, Jesse plans to bring back the holiday decorations and a new baby Jesus next year and every year after that.

Sergeant Keith Woodard with the Lubbock Police Department says there have been minor cases around town involving stolen holiday lawn decorations. Still, he says it is considered theft and depending on what's stolen. Vandals can expect to serve jail time and pay heavy fines.

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