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shall find, the Bible says. After Downtown's Trinity Cathedral reported a statue of the Christ child stolen from its creche last January, police officers from Zone 1 on the North Side apprehended a man who was causing a disturbance. As the Post-Gazette's Marylynne Pitz reported Friday, baby Jesus -- wrapped in a blanket -- was later found among the man's possessions. The statue will take its place in the creche in the Episcopal cathedral on Christmas Eve. Baby Jesus is part of an 18-statue set, which for decades was displayed on the Allegheny County Courthouse steps. The return of the statue wasn't the only appropriate outcome of this Christmas tale: The theft was forgiven, with a district judge dismissing all charges against the man.

IT IS beginning to look a lot like Christmas, not just the festive decorations but also the weather. Whether it snows or not, Pittsburghers who like to skate have another outdoor venue where they can do it -- Highmark Stadium on the South Side. Through Jan. 13, the rink there -- dubbed the Pittsburgh Pond -- will be open daily for public skating and youth and adult hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins -- remember them? -- are among the entities that collaborated to bring skating to the South Side. The $10.2 million facility will open officially in the spring as the home of the Riverhounds soccer team and the Pittsburgh Passion women's football team.

BEFORE "THE POLAR EXPRESS" book and film, before even the introduction of Lionel electric trains, the holiday custom of putting toy trains around the base of a Christmas tree was already established. As the Post-Gazette's Molly Born reported last week, the custom appears to have started in Pennsylvania. According to Jim Morrison, train enthusiast and curator of the National Christmas Museum in Paradise, Lancaster County, the Moravians, a Protestant denomination whose adherents settled in the Lehigh Valley, used to erect elaborate creche scenes in the mid-1700s. By the mid-1800s these had grown to include village scenes. With the advent of cast-iron toys in the late 1800s, miniature trains -- some of them wind-up -- began to be included in the make-believe villages under the trees. Next stop: Christmas joy.



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