I wish I could take full credit for this character but the Baby Jesus's appearance in this strip was inspired by a much higher power than myself... Jack Webb.
Yes, that's right, Sgt. Joe Friday of Dragnet fame! As I mentioned in an earlier commentary, I sometimes enjoy listening to "old time radio" shows while driving in to work, and one year during the holidays they played a classic Christmas episode from the original Dragnet radio series (the episode was later reworked for the 1960's TV series as well).
Joe Friday and his partner have Christmas day off. However a priest approaches them asking for their help. Somebody has stolen his church's Baby Jesus, and the department doesn't have the manpower to do a thourough investigation into such a relatively minor crime, but it would mean so much if they could get the Baby Jesus back. So Joe and his partner agree to spend their Christmas holiday conducting an unofficial investigation, shaking down every lowlife in Los Angeles trying to find the missing Baby Jesus. Unfortunately, their search is fruitless and they return to the priest to report their lack of success. Just then, a little hispanic boy shows up, towing the Baby Jesus in the back of a little red wagon. It's revealed that he wanted a wagon for Christmas more than anything else, but his family was too poor to buy one. So he prayed to the Baby Jesus and promised that if he only got a wagon for Christmas, he would give the Him a ride in it. A local group of volunteer firemen collected and refurbished used toys to give to poor kids every year, and fulfilled the little boy's wish by giving him a red wagon. And so true to his word, the little boy took the Baby Jesus and spent Christmas day wandering around the city with the wagon, giving Him a ride. He looks a Joe Friday and asks if he's in trouble. In his typical deadpan manner, Friday replies "I'm afraid that's not up to me son... What do you say father, is he in any trouble?", to which the priest reassures the boy that, no, he isn't in any trouble. The show closes with the Dragnet fanfare and the message that what we have just heard was a true story. Hey, stranger things have happened!
I really enjoyed that episode. It managed to be genuinely sentimental and heartwarming, yet hilariously hokey and corny all at the same time. Wonderful, wonderful stuff! And it planted the seed in my mind, what would happen if somebody from my comic strip stole the town's Baby Jesus? Well, it didn't take me much time to figure out an answer, and thus a Mynarski Forest holiday tradition was born.