The well-known Miracle on 34th Street was the imagined suspension, in the interests of the Christmas spirit, of the famous rivalry between Gimbels and Macy’s, New York’s biggest department stores. It provided the theme for a movie and book, and later for a Broadway musical, Here’s Love. Last month the Christian spirit was bringing about a more authentic miracle in the heart of the Manhattan shopping district. A 50-year-old Billy Graham was preaching not only God’s love but also his truth and justice to a crowd of 20,000 each night in the new Madison Square Garden.
“Jesus came the first time as the gentle Saviour,” Graham said. “Next time he comes as the judge of all the earth.”
At the close of each service, about 1,000 persons were responding to the evangelist’s invitation to commitment. Among them was a 31-year-old sandwich-shop waiter of Latin background who had left the Roman Catholic Church years ago. He came to the crusade at the invitation of a Christian boss—and found Christ as Saviour.
A Lutheran girl from New Jersey (she told her counselor she was 13½) who stepped forward to receive Christ said she had never realized that God loved her personally. She had known only that he loved the world as a whole.
Then there was the unemployed presser with the African haircut. He said he was a Baptist but never went to church any more. He had come forward, he explained, to show his determination to begin a closer walk with the Saviour he had met years ago.
Many of the others who responded to Graham’s message he never saw and perhaps in this life never will. They were members of the vast television audience that stretched from Minneapolis to Miami. An hour’s portion of each service was put on color videotape and aired later the same ...1
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