Lance Corporal Christopher Mohedano-Hernandez found special significance in being adopted during a Christmas Eve ceremony in Mineola, N.Y.
The religious 19-year-old Roman Catholic drew parallels Tuesday from his adoption by a man who married his mother when Mohedano-Hernandez was a young boy and the Biblical story of Joseph and Jesus.
‘‘They weren’t related by blood, but to Joseph, he was his son,’’ Mohedano-Hernandez said. ‘‘I feel the same way about my father; he knows that I'm his son, and I feel the same exact way.’’
The ceremony at Nassau County Surrogate’s Court included two other families adopting babies, but Judge Edward McCarty, a retired Army colonel, paid special attention to the Marine and his family.
Thieves grab gifts, puppy
Burglars broke into a woman’s home in Tampa, Fla., stole her children’s gifts, and snatched the family’s puppy.
Melody Russell, 33, said thieves broke in while she was at work Monday. She found the back door open, presents gone from under the tree, and their 12-week-old Shih Tzu missing.
Her children, Marissa, 7, and Marcus, 5, were at her sister’s home during the burglary. Marissa cried for a half hour when Russell broke the news about Honey.
Russell said that after the police left, she sat in the living room, praying for strength. It was 1 a.m. Tuesday when the phone rang. It was a police officer telling her the entire squad had chipped in to buy Marissa and Marcus presents.
‘‘Every single one of them had gifts,’’ Russell said. ‘‘I was so in shock.’’ Each present was signed ‘‘From Santa.’’
Honoring the troops
About 1,400 marchers completed a three-mile Christmas Eve hike in Glens Falls, N.Y., to honor military personnel who can’t be home for the holidays.
The march began Tuesday at the civic center and ended at a downtown arena. Soldiers from Albany-area units led it.
National Guard soldiers deployed to Iraq in 2004 were honorary grand marshals.
In Afghanistan on Tuesday, Major General James C. McConville, who commands NATO troops near the Pakistan border, visited US troops serving there, delivering greetings and gifts. He told the troops they were bringing a gift of their own to the Afghan people. “You've given them an opportunity,’’ he said. “Now it’s up to them to take it.’’
A religion joke falls flat
Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he had only holiday spirit in mind when the marquee on his church in North Palm Beach, Fla., read: ‘‘Christmas — Easier to spell than Hanukkah.’’
But after a passer-by deemed the message offensive and a TV station inquired about it, the Lighthouse Baptist Church preacher hurried to blunt any uproar by changing the sign to: ‘‘Jesus Loves You.’’
‘‘By no means would I as human or Christian ever put anything on the sign with the intention of hurting or insulting,’’ he said.
Long the place for sermon hours, church signs are now often clever, pithy, or funny. But pastors are finding that it’s easy to cross a line when joking about religion.