As a little girl, I always wanted to take dance lessons. That wasn’t in the cards for a regular person like me but for the wealthier girls from a neighboring suburb. When I got to high school, I joined the Pom Pom squad and spent many enjoyable hours counting out beats and matching them with kicks and twirls as I choreographed dance routines to our favorite music of the 70s.
Christmastime in New York is magical. From Rockefeller Square to the display windows at Macy’s, hope and brightness is everywhere. Lights and decorated trees permeate the city. Nothing represents all things Christmas more than the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. I wanted to see this show for most of my life and the time had finally come.
As we entered the great Radio City Music Hall, we were handed 3D glasses. A twinge of sadness settled in my stomach. You see 3D glasses had been a disappointment to me ever since they were invented. As everyone else would gasp with excitement, I was left seeing things in my 2D world. My recent vision therapy promised to allow my brain to perceive 3D and I had made progress but the reality of whether or not it would work this time was frightening. Oh well, I told myself, if it doesn’t work, at least you’re here to finally see the Rockettes. It’s going to be wonderful!
The show was magnificent. The entire orchestra was raised up from the pit on what appeared to be the biggest elevator ever created. Dancing, singing, costumes, music! A little girl sat behind us and squealed, ‘there’s Santa’ in her sweet, excited, and convinced voice. The innocence with which she narrated the show to her parents added just as much delight as the well-choreographed dancers.
‘Put on your 3D glasses’, Santa exclaimed, ‘for we’re going to take a trip to the North Pole!’ As obedient as a child sitting on Santa’s lap promising to be good, I placed the cardboard spectacles on my face. It took a few seconds but suddenly I was watching Santa’s sleigh fly through space. There were snowflakes right in front of my face and far away. A bird flew by, his beak just inches from my nose. Santa threw presents to the good girls and boys and I saw them float through space. Tears streamed down my face as I took in the magic of Santa, seeing 3D with everyone else for the first time, the precision of the Rockettes, and the history of Radio City Music Hall.
My husband looked over at me, knowing my vision struggles and what a big disappointment this could be. What he saw were my hands clasped over my mouth and nose, crying for joy like a child who had just received a pony. What a perfect place to be united with the depth and beauty of the three-dimensional world. It felt so good to cry. I was overwhelmed with the child-like wonder of Santa, music and dance.
My tears were a release of decades full of limitations. Seeing 3D opened the door to beauty I had never experienced. To have this all happen in this historic place after years of anticipation seemed like the ending of a show on the Hallmark Channel.
The Rockettes then moved to the story of the birth of Christ including traditional Christmas songs I sang as a child. The Living Nativity included real camels, sheep, and donkeys. I cried again as I teetered on the edge of wonder and gratitude.
This was the best Christmas gift ever.
I believe the culmination of these events had been planned for years. God knew my journey and worked to bless me on that day. Although my belief in God may seem as naive as a child’s belief in Santa, I know that the little girl sitting behind me and I sure enjoyed ourselves that day.