No matter what religion you are, you may find yourself in a church on Christmas Eve. Throughout the United States there are quite a few churches that leave you speechless upon entering them. Here are some of the most beautiful churches in the U.S. to visit on Christmas Eve.
Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis King of France, New Orleans, Louisiana
Also known as St. Louis Cathedral, this church is a must see for those visiting New Orleans. It features triple steeples and has been at this location since 1793. It has undergone major renovations throughout its existence. In fact, almost the entire church has been rebuilt, excluding the base of it. It is the oldest Catholic cathedral in use in the United States.
Church of the Advocate, Philadelphia
This Church was pivotal during the period of the Civil Right Movement supporting both African American and women’s rights. Many nationally significant events took place in the church including the Black Panther Conference in 1970 and the National Conference of Black Power in 1968. Take time to view the beautiful murals documenting the Civil Rights Movement. These impressive and often contentious “art of protest” murals were inspired by Bible passages; they compare the oppression experienced by the Jewish people during their enslavement and captivity and African American oppression and response to it in American history.
Washington National Cathedral, Washington D.C.
This church is around 108 years old. It’s one of the landmarks of the capital thanks to the beautiful Neo-Gothic architecture and amazing grounds. It’s a nice, peaceful retreat to the busyness of the city. Inside the church there are photographs that tell the history of the church and there’s a variety of both spiritual and cultural activities that take place throughout the year. This Church was in the middle of a controversy earlier this year when demands were made that the confederate flag be removed from two of its stained glass windows.
Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
This Church is the oldest parcel of land continuously owned by African Americans, and currently has over 2.5 million members. Again this Church was key in Black History, and was even part of the Underground Railroad. Of special interest are the church’s stained glass windows. Installed when the church was erected in 1890, they were produced by the Century Art Company at a cost of $1,190. They are brimming with symbolism. In the words of church historian Ruby Boyd, the windows are “sermons in art.” The five windows on the church’s Pine Street side depict Biblical references. The windows on the Richard Allen Avenue side are devoted to Jesus Christ. On the Lombard Street side, one of the windows makes significant use of Masonic symbols and was indeed donated by a Masonic order. The second Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in the United States was founded at Mother Bethel. Prince Hall was a noted black Boston abolition
Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York City, New York
This is one busy church! There are over 30 services held here each week and a soup kitchen that serves more than 25,000 meals a year. It is also home to many theatrical and musical performances. The cathedral is located on over 11 acres and is the world’s largest cathedral. Even though it’s over 120 years old, the cathedral is unfinished. Despite this, it’s still absolutely gorgeous.
Wayfarers Chapel, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
This church is called the tree chapel. Its unique design makes visitors feel as if they are actually in the middle of the forest. It is made out of redwood beams and is used not only for religious services, but weddings as well. Many visitors to the area make a special trip over to the chapel just to see the design of it as it’s rather unique.
St. Mary Of The Angels, Chicago, Illinois
Construction of this church started in 1899 and became a school. The 2nd version of the Church was completed until 1920. It was well worth the wait with its 29-foot tall angels that are on the church’s root top. In the 1960’s the church was almost torn down because attendance had dropped due to the building of the Kennedy Expressway. After much lobbying for the church to stay by parishioners and priests, the church underwent major renovations that made it what it is today. Besides the angles on the roof, the most noteworthy features are the stained glass windows that depict saints, angles, biblical scenes and characters and Stations of the Cross.