At Christmastime, we miss one of the greatest miracles of the season. Even though we find ourselves paying attention to those we often take for granted for the rest of the year. We send Christmas cards to far-off relatives; we make cookies and candies for the neighbors; we slip the postman a gift card — we do everything we can to avoid being associated with any of the behaviors we find in Scrooge. Because, we know what happens to those who behave like Scrooge.
We do this unconsciously… Maybe it’s the familiar refrain of the Christmas carols that run through our subconscious reminding us to “be of good cheer.” Maybe it’s the smell of cookies, or the site of brightly colored bows and packages that appear out of nowhere. Whatever the reason, there is a sense of anticipation, joy and expectation — which leads us to smile more at strangers, to be more aware of those around us, and to become kinder.
Odd, isn’t it? That somehow this holiday, known for good cheer and generosity prevails, decade after decade, even though this very holiday got its start with some of the most familiar phrases in history… “There was no room at the inn,” Luke 2:7. This is an often overlooked Christmas miracle; a story built on the premise of scarcity, has turned into one of abundance, bringing charity out of some of the most sternest people in our world.
This theory, in action, is what makes visiting NYC at Christmas time so enchanting. A massive crowd, is somehow unified under the blue-glow of the spell-binding lightshow at the front of Saks Fifth Avenue, choreographed to Carol of the Bells.
While just a few steps away, people are exiting Saint Paul’s Cathedral after a Tuesday evening Mass.
Here, you can watch the faces of strangers gather in the spirit of goodwill, and peace on earth. In NYC, the Salvation Army bell ringers come with their own music, and they dance… And it’s contagious, with pedestrians breaking out into dance and song just before they drop their own donations into the bucket.
The store windows tell stories,
There is an endless supply of ice skaters, and it’s hard not to imagine the scene with George from, “It’s a Wonderful Life, when he lost his hearing in one ear, trying to save his brother.
And the smell of the tree, the tree, permeates the air for at least one city block.
The “city that never sleeps” at Christmastime, is just a capsule, a very beautiful, loud capsule, of what is happening in our hearts everywhere, as we let the miracle of Christmas unfold one more time, in our own hearts.
The city of New York does a fine job at Christmas time…