— By Nancy A. Gardner
The weather was perfect that December afternoon. The temperature was 72 degrees. Leaves skipped along the sidewalk as the gently blowing breeze continued to empty trees of their colorful foliage High above the century-old buildings white, billowy clouds moved quickly across the egg-shell blue sky.
The scent of fresh-baked bread wafting from Flowers Bakery reminded me of the benevolent founder of the great local company. Walking along the sidewalk, I viewed each storefront with its array of merchandise beautifully displayed in various themes of Christmas, causing me to reflect on the quality of shopping we enjoy on downtown streets.
At the end of one sidewalk, I encountered an unexpected blessing. As I turned to cross the street, I was looking straight into the magnificent front doors of the church I have called home for the past 45 years. The hanging of the greens surrounding the two massive doors presented a warm, welcome feeling.
Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to the pencil-point steeple with the symbol of the cross, quickly reminding me of why I celebrate the season. As I stood waiting for the traffic light, another one of my senses was stirred by the sound of carols being played on steeple chimes, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Was I experiencing the ministry of unseen angels to my soul? Was I being reminded again of what Christmas is really all about? Yes, I think so. I sat on a bench just to listen.
After resting a while, I resumed my walk, continuing to enjoy the sights, sounds and aromas. When I opened my car door, I quietly spoke to myself, “Now I understand what makes this beautiful city such a place apart. I am now ready to celebrate this Holy Season.”