The threat to public safety from COVID-19 has meant that some 2020 holiday events have been limited or canceled altogether.
However, things are looking better for 2021.
Many popular activities organized by faith-based organizations are back.
Spiritual leaders said these awareness-raising activities focused on holidays like Hanukkah and Christmas attract regular members of the synagogue or church, but also non-members of the surrounding community.
Here is a list of some of the annual religious events and some new activities for 2021. Participants are encouraged to call ahead for mask and vaccination requirements. Most events are free, unless otherwise noted.
•Opening night for “The one” and the inaugural lighting of the giant “Christ Tree” at 150 W Park Ave. in downtown Enid. New this year, activities will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the Main Street Enid Christmas Lights Parade, followed by the opening ceremony and lighting of the “World’s Largest Freshly Cut Christmas Tree” at 6:00 p.m. 30. Conclude with a holiday fireworks show. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early and bring chairs. The One, with activities that will continue through January 6, is designed to serve as a reminder that Jesus is the reason Christians celebrate Christmas. Information: https://www.facebook.com/TheOneEnid/.
•a Advent feast will be 4 to 5:30 p.m. at St. Luke United Methodist Church, 222 NW 15 in Oklahoma City, and St. Luke’s-Edmond, 900 N Sooner Road, Edmond. Families can create Christmas decorations, enjoy cocoa and Christmas treats, as well as Christmas carols. Information: https://stlukesokc.org/.
• Scissor lights The Menorah Lighting Event will take place at 5 p.m. at Scissortail Park, 300 SW 7 in downtown Oklahoma City. Hosted by the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Faith, the Hanukkah celebration will feature traditional treats, a fire and light show, and music from Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road. Information: 405-286-0900; jewishokc.com/chanukahokc.
•A Car Menorah Parade The celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah will begin at 6 p.m. at the Chabad Community Center for Jewish Life and Learning, 3000 W Hefner Road, and will end around 7 p.m. at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark for menorah lighting.
• Christmas songs will be 11:45 am to 12:30 pm on December 2, 9, 16 and 23 at Heartland Chapel on the grounds of Oklahoma City First United Methodist Church, 131 NW 44. The chapel is near Robinson Avenue and NW 5 , opposite the east gate of the Oklahoma City National Museum and Memorial.
• Boys Ranch Town Christmas driving contest will be 7-9 p.m. at Boys Ranch Town, 5100 E 33rd Street in Edmond. A perennial favorite in the community, the event features a Living Nativity and other scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. Information: 405-341-3606; https://www.obhc.org/about/campuses/brt/events/brt-christmas-pageant/.
• “The real Christmas story” will be 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Crossings Community Church, 14600 N Portland. Aimed at families with children from infancy to sixth grade, the event will feature hot chocolate, donuts and crafts, as well as a live Nativity play at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Children are encouraged to come in their pajamas. Information: https://christmas.crossings.church/events/61.
•Canterbury Voices will perform Handel’s “Messiah” at 7 p.m. at Civic Center Music Hall, 201N Walker. Canterbury Voices will join with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic in bringing the beloved vacation event to the community. Tickets will need to be purchased to attend. Information: 405-232-7464; https://www.okcciviccenter.com/.
•Temple B’nai Israel will host a Hanukkah festival for the Jewish community from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 4901 N Pennsylvania. The event will feature potato latkes, crafts and entertainment. Information: https://thetempleokc.shulcloud.com/.
• Breakfast with St. Nick will be held from 8:30 am to 1 pm at St. Monica Catholic Church, 2001 N Western in Edmond. Hosted by the St. Monica Knights of Columbus group, the free annual breakfast for children and their families will include a visit with St. Nicholas. Parents are invited to bring their cameras: Information: 405-359-2700; https://www.stmonica-edmond.org/news.
• “A walk through Bethlehem,” an interactive recreation of the streets of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus’ birth, will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 10 and 11 and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on December 12 at The Servant’s United Methodist Church, 14343 N MacArthur . The event is designed for people of all ages. Information: https://servantokc.org/.
•Oklahoma City Dream Center Christmas party in the neighborhood will begin at noon at 2212 SW 55. Activities, generally designed for families living in the neighborhoods surrounding the center, will include free food, games, inflatables and Christmas gifts for youth 14 and under. Families must reserve a time slot to attend. Information: 405-634-2615; www.dcokc.org.
• Christmas at The Cube community evening and concert, 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with a concert at 6:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Council Road Baptist Church, 2900 N Council, Bethany. Activities will include inflatables, a vintage photo booth and a petting zoo. Information: https://www.councilroad.church/.
• Las Posadas, a religious holiday traditionally held in Mexico and parts of Latin America, is also observed in many Catholic churches in Oklahoma. Some Protestant places of worship and Christian schools also observe the tradition. For several nights leading up to Christmas, parishioners gather for Las Posadas, which is a re-creation of part of the biblical story of Jesus’ birth. The re-enactment features parishioners portraying Mary and Joseph and mimicking the couple’s search for an “inn room” over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Fourteen faith-filled events designed to bring joy to the holidays