As the northern hemisphere turns toward the winter solstice and the Christian Advent proceeds, through the next week Homer’s diverse faiths hold services leading up to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. At many churches, there will be traditional caroling and candlelight Christmas Eve services. Some churches, like the Salvation Army and Church on the Rock, hold Christmas services this Sunday. At the Salvation Army, a children’s choir sings.
“They’re dressed up like angels. It’s going to be super cute,” said Pastor Lt. Caleb Fankhauser.
Saint Augustine’s Episcopal Church holds its last Labyrinth Meditation Walk starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday — assuming volunteers can keep the labyrinth snow free. Next Saturday, Dec. 26, the Seventh Day Adventist Church has a post-Christmas service with a potluck dinner.
Homer United Methodist Church brings something different this year: a Nativity play, “Christmas in the Marketplace,” at 6 p.m. Monday. Written in 1935 in France by Henry Gheon, the play has been translated into English and other languages, and performed thousands of times, often in churches. Homer’s version is directed by Martha Ellen Anderson with assistance by Barbara Ann Veeck. It features Joan Evans as Colomba, Jim Hornaday as Melchior, and Dick Dunn as Joey, with Falcom Greear as Bruno and Savanna Bradley as Maria.
The play is a play within a play, about a band of wandering Gypsies who perform plays. They have a big box of costumes and plays, and are about to perform one when they realize, oh dear, it’s Christmas, and they can’t do that.
“They decide impromptu to put on a story as they know it of the birth of Jesus,” Anderson said. “It’s playful, but it’s very, very serious and insightful for the spiritual reason of the story.”
Anderson first learned of the play in 1959 when she took some classes at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut.
“It’s an artful intertwining of the very worldly and the very, very spiritual,” she said. “It reaches out not only to the church people who know the story, but also to people who are seeking to find God outside the church and trying to understand the spiritual.”
In addition to church services or events, Bunnell Street Arts Center holds a lantern making workshop at 2 p.m. Sunday followed by a lantern walk at 5 p.m. in Old Town. For those wanting to sing and share music with homebound elders, at noon Sunday and noon Dec. 26 and 27, the Homer Council on the Arts takes field trips to cheer up our pioneers. Meet at HCOA to carpool.
And for those looking to burn off some calories after too many holiday treats, there’s an open skate from 1-3:30 p.m. Christmas Eve at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena. Santa Claus will swing by. A donation to the Homer Community Food Pantry is requested.
A list of holiday events, in the order they occur follows:
619 Sterling Highway
4:30 p.m. Saturday, Labyrinth meditation walk followed by Compline service
7 p.m. Christmas Eve: Candlelight service with lessons and carols
397 E. Pioneer Ave.
6 p.m. Saturday: Christmas service, dinner, white elephant gift exchange
Church on the Rock
Homer High School, Alice Witte Gym
Sunday: Christmas service
960 East End Road
11 a.m. Sunday: Christmas cantata with music
6 p.m. Christmas Eve: Candlelight service
1468 Sterling Highway
11 a.m. Sunday: Service with youth choir singing Christmas carols.
770 East End Road
6 p.m. Monday: “Christmas in the Marketplace,” a Nativity play”
7 p.m. Christmas Eve: service with singing and musical instruments
Faith Lutheran Church
Corner of Sterling Highway and Soundview Avenue
6 p.m. Wednesday, Soup followed by a service at 7 p.m.
7 p.m. Christmas Eve, candlelight service and caroling
11 a.m. Christmas, service
All Saints Orthodox Mission
401 America Road (Mile 1 East Skyline Drive to Woodman Lane)
10 a.m. Christmas Eve: The Royal Hours
4:30 p.m. Christmas Eve: Nativity Vesperal Divine Liturgy
Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church
255 Ohlson Lane
5 p.m. Christmas Eve Mass
10 a.m. Christmas: Mass
Christian Community Church
3838 Bartlett Street
6 p.m. Christmas Eve: Candlelight service
Seventh-Day Adventist Church
210 E. Pioneer Ave.
3 p.m. Dec. 26: Bible study at 3 p.m. followed by Christmas music and service with a potluck dinner following.
Homer Council on the Arts
344 W. Pioneer Ave.
Noon Dec. 20, Dec. 26, Dec. 27: Christmas caroling for homebound elders
Join the choir for one or all three days of caroling on field trips to homebound elders around the Homer and Anchor Point areas. Meet at noon. Song sheets provided.
Bunnell Street Arts Center
106 W. Bunnell Ave.
2-5 p.m. Sunday: Lantern making followed by a lantern walk
Make lanterns starting at 2 p.m. and then at 5 p.m. take a lantern walk in Old Town. A $10 donation supports walkability efforts.
Kevin Bell Ice Arena
Homer Spit Road
1-3:30 p.m. Christmas Eve: Free skating
Skate free. Santa will make an appearance and snacks are provided. Donations requested for the Homer Community Food Pantry. Sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Marine Corps League and hosted by the Homer Hockey Association.