The holiday shopping season has certainly begun, judging from
the decorations seen in local stores and the sales being
The holiday shopping season has certainly begun, judging from the decorations seen in local stores and the sales being advertised.
However, this is not the “Christmas Season” itself because, according to the traditional Christian calendar, that begins on Dec. 25 and continues through Jan. 5 – the famous “12 days of Christmas.”
Technically, we are in the liturgical season of “Advent,” a period that begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas (Nov. 27 this year) and continues until the First Eucharist of Christmas on Dec. 25. For centuries, this season has been set aside to solemnly prepare for remembering the birth of Jesus of Nazareth and for “anticipating the fulfillment of his promise to return in power and great glory.”
Here are some enjoyable opportunities to share the Christmas spirit:
n The ninth annual “Sing-Along Messiah” will be held at Morgan Hill’s Advent Lutheran Church at 5 p.m. Dec. 3. The De Anza College Orchestra will accompany Advent’s choir and musicians in presenting this performance to the community. Light refreshments will follow. (16870 Murphy Ave., (408) 779-3551, admission: donation requested)
n The 23rd annual Christmas Creche Exhibit will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Palo Alto from noon to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 through 7. This year more than 500 nativities from 80 countries will be on display in a festive holiday setting. Visitors will be able to examine a diversity of materials used in pieces from around the world and representing many different time periods. There will also be live entertainment such as marionette shows and music provided by choirs and instrumental groups. (3865 Middlefield Road, (650) 856-3781, www.christmascreche.org, admission: free)
n Guests can experience First Century Bethlehem as Santa Clara First Baptist Church turns its campus into a reenactment of the nativity from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Dec. 8 through 12. Joseph and Mary progress through dusty streets crowded with costumed Roman soldiers, camels and farm animals, ending at a stage where angels, shepherds and Magi visit the Baby Jesus to the sound of Christmas carols. Hot chocolate and craft opportunities are available between the 30-minute performances. (3111 Benton St., (408) 241-7635, www.bethlehemsc.com, admission: free)
n A “Christmas Spectacular” will be presented by Bethel Church of San Jose at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 16 at 4 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and 17-18. This musical tribute to Christmas has been called “the best way to kick off the Christmas Season” and features adult and children’s choirs, drama, dance and audience participation. (1201 South Winchester Blvd., (408) 246-6790, www.bethel.org, admission: free)
n San Jose’s Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Joseph is offering its 16th annual Season of Hope performance series from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 12 to 23 A wide variety of music will be offered by the San Jose Symphonic Choir, South Bay Trombone Society, San Jose Youth Chamber Orchestra and the South Bay Guitar Society Quartet. (80 South Market St., (408) 283-8100 ext. 2205, www.stjosephcathedral.org/home, admission: free).