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Montpelier’s Wandering Creche

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The Christmas creche (without baby Jesus) in front of Bethany Church on Main Street, Montpelier. Photo by Carla Occaso.

Images, statues, candles, and twinkling lights depicting Jesus can be seen in many places during the holiday season. But if you want to see the doll depicting baby Jesus in the creche at Bethany Church on Montpelier’s Main Street, move fast, because, as one reader told us, the baby gets stolen almost every year.

A reader, who asked not to be named, wanted The Bridge to write about Montpelier’s own wandering creche, and told us she was recently helping to put out the creche figures in early December when she thought of its history in town. She said she remembers it first being placed in front of the court house on the corner of Main and Elm streets. Then, she remembers it in front of City Hall, and then in front of the Baptist church on School Street. Then it was passed on to the Bethany Church — its current stewards. The reader noted the creche has been rebuilt, and figurines that have disappeared over the years have been replaced. Inexplicably, baby Jesus is the figurine most often removed, she said. Some of the figurines were freshly painted last year.

Back when I was a child in the Montpelier area, I remember the publicly displayed creche. Also, the Finast supermarket on the Barre-Montpelier Road (where Big Lots is now) sold miniature creche figures a la carte during the Christmas season. My mother bought us one piece at a time per shopping trip: The manger, Mary, baby Jesus, Joseph, a camel, some wise men, some angels, etc. I played with them like dolls under the tree for years while I watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on TV.