Around the world, Christians are making final preparations for Christmas. In the Philippines, survivors of the catastrophic Typhoon Haiyan held a traditional dawn worship service which began a series of masses in the days leading up to Christmas. Participants said they were trying to hold on to hope in the midst of devastation. In Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, festivities are happening amid renovations at the Church of the Nativity. It’s the first restoration of the fourth-century structure in 200 years. A full slate of events is scheduled at the Vatican, where the official Christmas tree was lit in St. Peter’s Square.
Revisit our 2011 story on the St. Olaf Christmas Festival’s centennial celebration, as well as our archive of many past Christmas stories, reports, and interviews.