Building the San Diego Community Christmas Center!

The holidays must be near in San Diego, with Balboa Park’s December Nights right around the corner. Because look what I saw today!

San Diego Community Christmas Center volunteers were at work in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion erecting their annual Nativity Display and Gingerbread House!

I was told Santa and his reindeer will be showing up soon, too! (With a little help from City of San Diego Parks and Recreation.)

It was a bit odd to see life-size Biblical figures wrapped up in plastic. A shepherd was lying down nearby, after having “surgery” on his hand. It had been broken last year when some member of the public tore away his staff. Whatever your beliefs might be, that’s pretty sad.

The San Diego Community Christmas Center is a non-profit committee that maintains an over half century old tradition. According to their website, the Chamber of Commerce first initiated the project after World War II. Horton Plaza was first to display the Biblical figures. The next home for the Nativity Scene was the Civic Center on Pacific Highway. Finally, in 1953, the location was moved to its present home in the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park

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San Diego gathers to sing Christmas carols!

Is it possible for perfect strangers to come together spontaneously and sing as one? It happened this afternoon in San Diego in Balboa Park!

Audience members from today’s free Sunday concert were summoned to the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. A smiling Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez and local singer and songwriter Lauren Leigh Martin led one and all through many joyful Christmas carols!

Is a single picture worth a thousand words? Here’s a many thousands of words story…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos outside the old Nestor Methodist Church.

This weekend I passed by a couple of old churches in San Diego’s South Bay.

I was walking along Coronado Avenue, just west of Interstate 5, when I saw a white church with an old-fashioned steeple up a low hill. My feet turned toward it for a closer look.

What I discovered was the Nestor United Methodist Church, built in 1896. A friendly gentleman who I believe might belong to the church showed me the building’s brick cornerstone, which I photographed.

Nestor is a community that lies between Imperial Beach and Otay Mesa West. I tried to do a little internet searching to find out more about this historic church, and came upon this South Bay Historical Society Bulletin from 2016, which states:

1896 – Nestor United Methodist Church at Coronado and Hollister was built on land donated by Captain John Folks. The first Methodist organization in the South Bay area was the Tia Juana Valley Methodist Sunday School in Oneonta, beginning in 1888.

Services were conducted in the upstairs room of the Oneonta School. The cornerstone of the present structure at 1120 22nd Street was laid on July 23, 1896. The National City and Otay Railway ran special trains to the ceremony from San Diego.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Map of the Interplanetary Confederation in El Cajon!

Perhaps you remember a past blog post where I shared photos of a UFO mural outside the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon. Or another post that included a photo of a large flying saucer on the roof of an unusual automobile that I spotted in Coronado.

Well, during my weekend walk through El Cajon, I paused outside the Unarius New World Teaching Center to read various displays in their windows.

The first thing that caught my attention was their Map of the Interplanetary Confederation, with its 33 planets that form a spiraling vortex emanating from a spiritual sun. And how in 1973 Uriel contacted the leaders of these planets, learning of their Master Plan.

Another display concerned the lost civilization of Atlantis, and the coming arrival of the Space Brothers, advanced scientists who will teach humankind interdimensional physics.

Fascinating, to say the least!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Is this what the Wise Men saw?

See that tiny, tiny dot in the night sky directly above the photographer’s knuckles? People are calling it the Christmas Star. Astronomers call it a great conjunction, when the two largest planets in our solar system–Jupiter and Saturn– appear very close together to eyes viewing from Earth.

Today is December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice. I took this photograph with my little camera from the Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa Park shortly after dark. That’s downtown San Diego you see on the left.

The last time Jupiter and Saturn were in conjunction this closely (and could be seen in most of the Northern Hemisphere) was the year 1226. You’ll have to wait sixty years to see it again. I suppose I won’t be around.

I’ve read and heard conjecture that the biblical Magi were guided to Bethlehem by the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the year of Christ’s birth. Some believers claim the timing would have been about right.

Can you make out that miniscule dot? Is that the same “star” the Wise Men saw?

Another good question might be: Is a light from far away what the wise see?

Jupiter and Saturn will continue their orbits around the sun, as will the Earth, long after you and I and every worldly thing we have done and hold dear has vanished, turned to dust, to be swirled by an unseen finger, transformed into something else.

Great conjunctions will continue hundreds, thousands, millions of years into the future. A billion years from this moment–give or take a century–there will be another Christmas Star.

Girl Scouts work to make a better community!

Believe.
Believe.

Today I enjoyed a tour of a fantastic outdoor mural exhibition in San Ysidro. It was the highlight of my day. I’ll blog about that shortly.

Earlier in the afternoon, I walked a little around the neighborhood and found myself looking at some creative artwork on a fence at the San Ysidro Community Center. I’d stumbled upon the Gold Award project of two local Girl Scouts!

According to a sign on the fence, in 2018 Orian Martinez restored the community center’s outdoor playground, and Sofia Perez-Valles created the Utopia Mural on the surrounding fence, embellishing it with positive messages.

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has closed the San Ysidro Community Center and its outdoor area for many months now, so if things look a bit weathered and ragged, you can understand why. But the positive efforts and messages endure.

The actions and leadership of these two Girl Scouts have indeed made the world (and their community) a better place!

Utopia Mural.
Utopia Mural.

Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.
Butterflies decorate a gate to an outdoor playground and gathering place.

Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.
Sign near entrance to San Ysidro Community Center.

Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.
Two Girl Scouts achieved the Gold Award for a 2018 project at the San Ysidro Community Center.

Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.
Recycled materials turned to art on the chain link fence.

Courage.
Courage.

More colorful butterflies.
More colorful butterflies.

Action Changes Things.
Action Changes Things.

The future has many names...
The future has many names. For the fearful, the unknown. For the weak, the unreachable. For the brave, an opportunity.

Action is the foundational...
Action is the foundational…

...skill to all success.
…skill to all success.

Fall seven times and get up eight.
Fall seven times and get up eight.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get where you've always gone.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll arrive where you’ve always gone.

Changes bring opportunity.
Changes bring opportunity.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

The remains of Mardi Gras, and glitter ashes.

Mardi Gras has come and gone. Today some of the revelers will be observing Ash Wednesday.

I walked through the Gaslamp Quarter this morning and saw the remains of Mardi Gras.

Then I spotted smiles and glitter ashes at the Old Town trolley station…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

To read a few philosophical bits of fiction I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Photos of Our Lady of Guadalupe Procession.

Catholics from across a large area of Southern California gathered today on B Street by San Diego City College for a special event. The many parishes of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego took part in the annual Procession to Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the late morning I watched as the faithful gathered just east of Park Boulevard. The annual procession would head west to Civic Center Plaza, where a ceremony would take place.

I took some photos as people busily prepared each parish float, attaching religious banners, flowers, flags, and a special spot where a young lady would pose as a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Then the procession began down B Street, into the heart of downtown.

I saw colorful Aztec dancers, and black-garbed priests, and the Bishop of the Diocese of San Diego, and smiling queens, and joyous mariachis and baile folklórico dancers.

Members of Catholic churches across San Diego County and beyond walked behind the parish floats, singing and rejoicing and holding banners, celebrating the miracle appearance of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, all those years ago outside Mexico City.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Christmas Around the World at Balboa Park.

Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.
Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.

Christmas on the Prado is being held today in Balboa Park. The event, while not nearly as large as December Nights, is special to many in San Diego because it is primarily religious, celebrating the birth of Christ.

This afternoon I wandered randomly about the International Cottages, seeing what I might see. Most of the cottages were open for the event and many contained Christmas trees and unique decorations.

I photographed a variety of crafts and beautiful displays, which are said to represent Christmas Around the World.

People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.

Making paper Christmas tree ornaments at the House of Norway.
Making paper Christmas ornaments at the House of Norway.

A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.

A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.

Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.

Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.

A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.

Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.

A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.

Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.

Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!

A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.

Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Happy needlework at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Joyful needlework at the House of Germany.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

VEND-o-MATIC supplies Faith, Hope, Peace, Love.

An unusual VEND-o-MATIC vending machine on El Cajon Boulevard near 52nd Street dispenses Faith, Hope, Peace and Love. Place your hand where indicated, make the selection of your choice by pressing a button, and the goodness is beamed directly through your arm into your heart.

From the way the paint has aged, I guess this VEND-o-MATIC has probably seen a great deal of use.

You can never have too much of good things.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!