Christmastime is here, and Christian churches around Orange County are preparing to mark the fourth Sunday of Advent this weekend, with the anniversary of Christ's birth to follow next Saturday.
Planned events range from special services to pageants to concerts. They include:
* Placentia United Methodist Church will present "The Christmas Lamb" children's program during the 10 a.m. Sunday services. Pastor Glenn Miller will lead a Family Christmas Eve service at 5 p.m. and a Candlelight Communion service at 11 p.m. The church is at 2050 N. Valencia Ave., Placentia. (714) 528-1483.
* The St. Irenaeus Church Youth Ministry will present "St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra," a dramaturgy, at 10:15 a.m. Sunday in the Parish Hall and at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve in the Church. This one-act play features the junior and senior high school ministries. The church is at 5201 Evergreen Ave., Cypress. (714) 821-5531.
* Actress Jennifer O'Neill will join the Rev. Robert Schuller during services at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Sunday at the Crystal Cathedral. On Christmas Eve, the church will welcome performer Michael Crawford, best known for his role in the "Phantom of the Opera," during services at 3 p.m. and every 90 minutes thereafter through midnight. Schuller will conduct these services from the Shepherd's Fields of Bethlehem via satellite. The church is at 12141 Lewis St., Garden Grove. (714) 971-4000.
* The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach will present performer Peter Dobson in a holiday program at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The Rev. Chris Schriner will lead a "Carols by Candlelight" celebration at 7 p.m. Christmas Eve. A potluck will begin at 5:30 p.m. The center is at 429 Cypress Drive, Laguna Beach. (949) 497-4568.
* Neighborhood Congregational Church will offer a blessing of the animals service at 4 p.m. this afternoon on the church patio. The "Something's Coming" Advent series will continue with part 4, "How Will It Act?," at 10 a.m. Sunday. The final service "Tonight, Tonight, Won't Be Just Any Night" will take place at 10:45 p.m. Christmas Eve. The church is at 340 St. Ann's Drive, Laguna Beach. (949) 494-8061.
* Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic Church will present the third annual "Voices of the Season" concert at 8 p.m. this evening. The concert will feature the Chamber Orchestra, 80-voice Parish Choir, Children's Choir, the Parish Handbell Choir and Children's Handbell Choir. Tickets are $10 ($5 for children). The church is at 20444 Magnolia St., Huntington Beach. (714) 962-3333.
* "A Festival of Christmas Music" will be presented at 5 and 7:30 p.m. this evening at Trinity United Presbyterian Church. A freewill offering will be taken. Christmas Eve candlelight services will take place at 5, 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Child care will be provided at the 5 and 7 p.m. services. Communion will be offered during the 7, 9 and 11 p.m. services. The church is at 13922 Prospect Ave., Santa Ana. (714) 544-7850.
* A Children's Pageant and Intergenerational service will take place at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Church of South County. A Christmas Eve service with carols, poetry and readings is at 7 p.m. Guests are asked to bring dessert to share. The church is at 25801 Obrero Drive, No. 7, Mission Viejo. (949) 581-0245.
* A "Longest Night Service" will be at 7 p.m. Sunday at the United Methodist Church of Garden Grove. Christmas Eve services will be offered at 7 and 10 p.m. (Infant care available at 7 p.m. only.) The church is at 12741 Main St., Garden Grove. (714) 534-1070.
* Candlelight services will be offered at 5, 7 and 11 p.m. Christmas Eve at Laguna Presbyterian Church. Child care will be available at the first two services. The church is at 415 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. (949) 494-7555.
* Yorba Linda United Methodist Church will present a Living Nativity from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today and Sunday. The Holy Family, angels, live animals, soldiers and shepherds will be part of the scene. The church is at 19002 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda. (714) 777-2885.
* The St. Mark Presbyterian Church Choir will present Vivaldi's "Gloria" at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The church will host a Christmas Eve service of candlelight and carols at 7 p.m. There will also be a shorter service for families with young children at 4 p.m. The church is at 2100 Mar Vista Drive, Newport Beach. (949) 644-1341.
* St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church will offer Christmas Eve services featuring a message by John A. Huffman Jr. at 5, 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Performers include the sanctuary choir, brass ensemble, percussionists, handbell choir, organist and harpist. The "Living for Others" Men's Fellowship Breakfast will take place from 7 to 8 a.m. in Dierenfield Hall. Cost is $2.50. The church is at 600 St. Andrews Road, Newport Beach. (949) 631-2880.