‘Way up in the sky, little lamb, do you see what I see?
A star, a star dancing in the night,
With a tail as big as a kite. With a tail as big as a kite. Musical lyrics: Do You Hear What I Hear? by Noel Regney+
For months my husband and I looked forward to joining some special friends to take in the Christmas lights of New York City. As the date approached we became increasingly excited as others who had been there described their experience as “breathtakingly beautiful.” We also had tickets to see the Rockettes perform at Radio City Music Hall (hailed as a “must-see” to take in “the full Christmas-in-New York experience.”) I am happy to report that New York did not disappoint. The lights (brilliant in their intensity) and decorations were varied as well as beautiful ( if you didn’t mind taking them in with enormous crowds of people!) Of course, the Rockettes maintained their stellar reputation.
Reflecting back, there were two “best parts” that we will remember from our little holiday adventure. The first BEST was the gift of spending time with our friends. What is it about conversations shared over a meal and exploring city streets with friends that add so much to our human experience? My theory is that it goes back to the basics of what we were made for. Fulfilling God’s second commandment for us to “love our neighbor as we love ourselves” feels right because it is right! The additional blessing in this is that as we are intentional in loving our friends and neighbors, He then balances out our ability to love ourselves as we learn to rest in Him. (Hence, fewer self-esteem issues to mess up our heads!)
The other BEST caught us completely by surprise near the end of the show at Radio City Music Hall. We were dazzled by the decorations, lights, music, the precision dancing and the special backdrops that seemed to pop-out at us as we wore special 3-D glasses. There were also toy soldiers and a multitude of “Santa’s” that kept everyone entertained. But then we became aware of a subtle mood change towards the end of the production. The lights softened and the music became richer as traditional Christmas Carols were played. Then, one by one, the Magi proceeded across the stage as they followed the star toward Bethlehem. With them was a large entourage of servants and camels (three!) and other animals. The Scriptures were read as each of the kings, robed in beautiful costume, were named (as were the gifts they carried.) When they finally arrived in Bethlehem, Mary, Joseph and the Babe were in a simple stall, surrounded by a myriad of people that included the shepherds who had run in from their fields. All bowed before Mary, Joseph and the infant Christ as the royal gifts were presented. It was amazing and gratifying to be in the center of New York City to witness such a reminder of the shining brilliance of God’s grace-filled Gift we celebrate!
Even now, as I think about what we witnessed, I am struck by the debt each of us owe to a Creator who is so very, very Good! In light of all that He has done for us, saving us out of the darkness of our sin, His requirement that we love Him “with all our heart, mind, soul and strength” should never be a hardship. No, as we celebrate all that He had done for us, loving Him back will surely be our delight!
“The people who were dwelling in darkness have seen a brilliant light; and on those who were dwelling in the region of the shadow of death, on them light has dawned.” (WEY) Matthew 4:16