MIDTOWN MANHATTAN (WABC) -- Worshippers gathered Thursday night to usher in Christmas at various church services throughout the Tri-State area, including Midnight Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Midtown Manhattan.
Beyond the bright holiday lights and beautifully wrapped gifts is a timeless and precious story that speaks to the faith of millions of people around the world.
And in New York City, countless families gathered in churches like St. Patrick's to both worship and celebrate the birth of Christ.
Lifting their voices and hearts in unison, nearly every pew inside The Riverside Church was full during a Christmas Eve service with people from all walks of life joining together in prayer, song, and a common belief in the miraculous birth of Jesus.
"It's very very blessed you know, blessed and peaceful," said one worshipper.
"It's a beautiful thing I think, to come together and to celebrate Jesus's birth," said another.
It's a timeless story that's been told many different ways, and at St. Paul's Chapel in Lower Manhattan families and children were welcomed to enjoy a very special nativity play.
Meanwhile at St. Patrick's Cathedral where many traditionally gather for Midnight Mass, it is more than a ritual, it's a time for reflection on the true meaning of Christmas.
"The meaning of Christmas is a moment for people to be with their families to be with their friends to step back from work to step back in my mind from the shopping if you can you get what you can for your family and friends but to remember why we are on earth," said Katrina Vandenheuvel of the Riverside Church.
Worshippers gather for church services to usher in Christmas