Like me, my nephew Jack likes Christmas…a lot. And he likes Christmas decorations a lot…much to his mother’s exasperation. Christmas trees, Christmas villages, nutcrackers, snow globes, reindeer, every variety of Santa and lights, lights, lights. The kid has lights everywhere. Very proud of him.
I am taking the days before Christmas to blog about our Christmas Eve celebration, which is at the Maryland State Fair. If you’ve never been, you might wonder how “Christmassy” the Cow Palace could possibly be. And you wouldn’t be the first. The first year we actually went, a major objection for some people was the way they thought it might look…after all, look is important at Christmas. Some people actually refused to go, others still do. They don’t think it will look good. Silly.
The Cow Palace looks awesome for our Christmas celebration…at least once you get inside. The outside isn’t much and that’s the way it is. But inside, the Cow Palace is transformed by our awesome team of transformers (hundreds of people help make it happen, though only a discerning few decide what will happen).
The lobby space will actually be quite elegant as well as spacious. When you walk in, it will definitely feel like a destination. Immediately in front of you will be a magical space for kids, where we will host our first ever Christmas Eve children’s program (more on that in a subsequent post). Don’t want to give away everything, but for your kids or grandkids it will be an irresistible attraction.
To the right of the lobby are the entrances to the worship space. It is huge, it’s true, but soft lighting helps a lot. Besides, plenty of seating means you and your family, or guests can all sit together. Screens suspended from the ceiling bring you right into the heart of the experience and the sound is really terrific. After a few minutes, you won’t even be considering the size.
As you find your seats, don’t miss our beautiful crèche, to your left. This display, with beautiful Italian sculpted figures, was a tradition here at our Ridgely Road campus, but initially seemed too much to try and transport to the fairgrounds. Besides, as the event grew, there was eventually no room for it there. Last year, when we moved to the larger Cow Palace, we decided to bring the crèche with us. Be sure you don’t miss it.
The centerpiece of the space is the altar, and what we try and do is replicate exactly how our altar looks here at Nativity. I don’t actually like poinsettias so we don’t have any. But we do have Christmas Trees and lights….lots of light. Jack will love it and so will you.