Spotlighted on our street is the manger scene that Sue and Sam Gressett display each December.
It’s still my favorite expression of Christmas. On Friday morning, the trees surrounding it were covered in snow, which made it even more beautiful.
I recently saw the lights of the big city, the glitz and glamor of Manhattan where every tree is wrapped in tiny white lights. I saw the flashing lights of Times Square and the huge live tree at Rockefeller Center–it is all spectacular. With my granddaughters and daughter-in-law, I road the elevator 67 floors up to the Top of the Rock to look out at the city–a mass of lights all around.
I loved seeing New York at Christmas time, but as we wove our way through the crowded streets, I began to wonder, “Does anyone here know what Christmas is really about?”
And then, we went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes. I’ve never seen anything like that show; it embodies the very best of talent in the music, the lights, the spectacular sets, the gifted musicians and dancers—it is magical. I found Baby Jesus there, where the real Christmas story was portrayed with Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the Wise Men, and live camels and sheep. Yes, some people in that big city know the reason for the season.
We also found Jesus in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
In the Medieval art section, there are scores of sculptures and paintings depicting the life of the Savior.
We took the subway to Ground Zero, where we saw the Little Chapel that survived Nine Eleven. Just steps away from where the Towers collapsed is the historic Saint Paul’s Chapel. It is said that George Washington once prayed there. The little church served as a refuge, a soulful abode for rescue workers during the aftermath of the tragedy.
Guideposts Magazine reported that: “Saint Paul’s Church survived without a scratch when the world around it crumbled.”
Just steps away from death and destruction, there were no broken windows, and even the steeple remained intact. Among the trees in the church-yard, only one fell—a nearly 100-year-old sycamore. This tree served as a protection for the church. According to the Associated Press, it was this tree that prevented a huge steel beam from smashing the 235-year-old church. The Daily News reported that Saint Paul’s Chapel had also survived the Great Fire of 1776.
When I researched the story of the Little Chapel,
tears stung my eyes as I realized that Jesus had been there all along. He is wherever His Name is honored. We read in the Bible that “Jesus wept,” and I’m sure He was weeping on that horrible day. Prior to the Nine-Eleven attack, in the midst of all our unearned freedom, in the hub of our power to choose, we Americans had taken our freedom for granted and had almost forgotten about the Creator. His “still, small voice” speaks to us now from that little church.
In Central Park, the carriage driver wrapped us with red furry blankets and drove us through the park while telling us stories of New York and its famous people. Every day, we looked up and stood gawking at the tall buildings that towered over us. We were jostled by crowds of people as we headed toward Broadway to see the shows, smelling the food-smells of the restaurants, and hearing the beeping of taxis.
Christmas in New York was an unforgettable gift,
and now I am home, looking out my bedroom window at the manger scene across the street. That’s the real thing—the reason for the season.