Away in a manger, the little lord Jesus lay down his sweet head — and promptly picked it right back up again when chaos broke out above. In a turn of events ripped from the pages of a holiday movie script, a kid stole baby Jesus during a Christmas play at the First Baptist Church of White Pine, Tennessee, on Sunday. At any other point in history, the following tale of mayhem by the manger would have been passed down through word of mouth. But it's 2017, and everyone has a smartphone on hand at all times. Naturally, the child's mom caught the entire incident on camera.
Allow me to set the scene. It's mid-December in a small town in eastern Tennessee, and folks have filed into the local Baptist church to watch their young children perform a live Nativity play. Everything goes smoothly until the final act, when Mary, Joseph, an angel, and assorted farm animals are gathered around baby Jesus with a nearby choir singing "Away in a Manger." Overcome by the good Lord's soulful tunes, the kid playing the sheep decides to get up and dance onstage. (We've all been there.) But first, she needs a partner.
Why, would you look at that? Baby Jesus doesn't seem to be occupied with anything but snoozing away in the manger. The sheep-child whisks the baby doll away for a quick waltz about the stage, accompanied by the music of the audience's guffaws.
Once she gets over her shock, Mary does what any mother would have done: retrieve her child by any means necessary. In this case, that means enacting an onstage tug-of-war with the ovine kidnapper. She manages to return the holy infant, so tender and mild, to its proper place in the manger, but not for long. The diabolical sheep, consumed by her desire to dance, dodges Mary's grasp and takes baby Jesus for a twirl once more. When Mother Mary attempts to defend her son (again), a tiff breaks out between the toddlers.
Meanwhile, everyone in the church is roaring with laughter.
According to Knox News, the twinkle-toed Jesus thief was a two-year-old girl named Teegan. Her mother, Tana Benson, captured the moment on her phone and posted the video on Facebook. At first, the post was private, but she changed the settings to allow a friend to share it with other people. Soon, the video went viral, with more than 267,000 shares and 79,000 likes on Facebook.
"This is too stinkin cute!" commented one user. Truer words have never been written. But don't take everyone else's word for it. Watch the tussle for yourself belowUnl.
Benson told Knox News that the three-year-old girl who played Mary is a "stickler for the rules," and the child knew Teegan was not supposed to steal the baby. "She was real quick to let [Teegan] know 'Hey, let me get that back and put it back so we can do what we're supposed to do,' and Teegan wasn't having it. She thought, 'I've got this,'" Benson explained.
While the video went viral for being the cutest darn thing to happen to the Internet this December, Benson said the clip reminds her of her personal meaning of the holidays. "It really is a funny video, and it... still kind of focuses on what I know to be the true meaning of Christmas, which is Jesus," she told the station.
Teegan may have played a lamb, but there was absolutely nothing sheepish about her performance. There's a lesson to be learned here: Seize your dreams, even if that dream is kidnapping the baby Lord Jesus to be your holy dance partner.