As the December days go by, it continues to look and sound more like Christmas. Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby helped ring in the holiday season by hosting its Annual Live Nativity, Tree Lighting and Visit with Santa last Tuesday in the front horseshoe driveway on Lansdowne Ave.
“It’s a very strong tradition,” said Executive Director/Administrator Susan Cusack. “It grows each year.”
Hospital employees participated in a live nativity scene for about 100 spectators consisting of colleagues, patients, their families and members of the community. There was live music and leading the group in Christmas carolling were Darren Lucas and Joanne Farrel, of the group Sway. Selections included “The Christmas Song,” “Mary Did You Know,” “O Holy Night.” “Here Comes Santa Claus” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” The Yeadon Fire Company and Mercy EMS were also there to help light the tree.
“It brings colleagues together in working with each other,” said Cusack. “It brings the community together. We become more than just the place they go to for care.”
Several families got into the spirit by participating in the fun together. Playing Jesus, Mary and Joseph was an affair for the Drames Family. ER nurse Laura Drames portrayed the Blessed Virgin with husband and former hospital resident, Tom, as St. Joseph. Two-month old Julianna played Baby Jesus, the same role her sister, Amelia, portrayed four years ago.
The Gensemer Family was also in the cast with sisters Madie, 11, and Lexie, 18, among the angels along with their cousin, Maddy Riley, 7. Additionally, there were shepherds, three wise men and three wise women.
“This is a lot of fun,” said Regina Balyer, a critical care nurse who took on the role of a wise woman. “It helps you remember the real reason for the holiday.”
The crowd counted down to the big moment and it finally came as the hospital’s great American tree was lit up at 5:15 sharp, a sight to behold. “Joy to the World” was sung and everyone was filled with the holiday spirit.
Just when it looked like it could not be more glorious, the moment the children had been eagerly awaiting arrived. Santa Claus himself made a grand entrance, ready to meet his friends and hear their dire Christmas wishes. He listened to requests for iPads, slime, drones as well as iPhones and laptops complete with cases while parents snapped photos.
Sarah Valentine, 11, and her cousin, Audrey Rivet, 7, granddaughters of Maryann Peebles, a nutritionist, kept their family tradition alive coming out for this special event by posing as angels and seeing Santa.
“I come with my grandma,” said Valentine. “I was an angel last year too. I like coming.”
Santa is not just for the young but the young at heart. Director of Community Outreach Lauren Carlin and Administrative Director of Oncology and Rehab Michele Zappile, also sat on the big guy’s lap and posed for a picture.
Everyone in attendance received an ornament as an early Christmas present. They were also treated to hot chocolate and other refreshments served inside the gift shop lobby.