NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- From great cathedrals to the smallest of churches, Christmas services are taking place all over the region.
Christmas Eve is the biggest night of the year for Dr. Hampson Sisler, the organist at the United Methodist Church in Westfield, New Jersey.
"The whole Christmas faith starts here, you know, so that's what it means to me," he said.
For Christians, the true meaning Christmas isn't about the gifts, but for celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.
"Not so much the emphasis on the baby, but the emphasis should be on Jesus, the messiah who came to redeem all of us," Baptist Deacon Ron Maltby said.
That is the message Christians will hear at services from United Methodist, one of the oldest Baptist churches in New Jersey, to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City and beyond – that there is more to Christmas than the hustle and bustle of the shopping season.
"What I was trying to teach my kids is there's more to it, and what the real meaning of Christmas is, is the birth of Jesus Christ," Verona resident Steve Gallagher said.
"I think it's about family – it's about getting together and being thankful," Joe Franklin, of Plainfield, said.
To the Reverend Thomas Miller of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Christmas is about Christ and peace.
"There is hope that people can begin again, and whole nations can begin again, and we can work together," Rev. Miller said.
That's just what Christians want to hear, especially during these difficult times.
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