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Best church Nativity pageant ever? Sheep steals baby Jesus, Mary saves him

A 3-year-old Mary was having none of it when her 2-year-old co-star stole the baby Jesus from his bed.
by Allison Slater Tate / / Source: TODAY Contributor

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Little Teegan Benson, 2, could not wait to get up on stage to play the role of "sheep" in the First Baptist Church of White Pine's Nativity scene this weekend in Tennessee.

"They were all itching to get up there so they could dance along with the music," Teegan's mom, Tana Benson, told TODAY Parents.

But Teegan had bigger plans than just dancing. The toddler, who has been singing the songs and talking about Baby Jesus in the car for weeks according to her mom, was determined to get her hands on the doll in the crèche. "She just really wanted that baby Jesus," said her mom.

When Teegan, dressed as a sheep, took off with baby Jesus mid-song, her 3-year-old co-star playing the role of Mary took matters into her own hands, recovering the doll and returning him to his bed. Teegan took the baby doll again, and that's when a full-on preschool brawl broke out at the church Nativity pageant. The rest of the children continued to sing "Away in a Manger" without missing a beat.

Benson posted the video on her Facebook page, where it has been viewed over 1.5 million times and shared 57,000 times since Sunday.

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"Teegan loves being the center of attention, so the more people laughed, the more excited she was to show her stuff," her mom explained. Everyone in the audience was laughing so hard, she said, they had trouble eating dinner at the church fundraiser afterward.

"These kiddos are such blessings to us all, and we are happy to be able to share a our joy and some laughs," said Tana Benson, here with daughters Teegan, 2, and Taylor, 11.
"These kiddos are such blessings to us all, and we are happy to be able to share a our joy and some laughs," said Tana Benson, here with daughters Teegan, 2, and Taylor, 11.Tana Benson

"The little girl playing Mary is a middle child and a real stickler for the rules, and she knew that was not supposed to happen," said Benson. "When I went up to take Teegan's hand and walk her off the stage, the little girl playing Mary said, 'She touched the baby Jesus! We weren't supposed to touch the baby Jesus!' I told her we were sorry!"

Benson is overwhelmed by the response to her daughter's antics. "I'm really glad that a video like this can bring some light into the season," she said. "This is a good way way to share the message and remind everyone of the reason for the season, which is Jesus."

Clearly, that's something her daughter understands very well already.

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