Sunday, November 24, 2019
“Silver bells, silver bells
It’s Christmastime in the city …”
~composed by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans
Early Christmas shoppers hunt for treasures to place under the Christmas tree at Christmas Huts On Main in historic downtown Bethlehem, Pennsylvania the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
The charming area was transformed into an authentic German Weihnachtsmarkt, or open-air Christmas market. Vendors set up shop in Christmas-themed wooden huts brimming with unique gift ideas along Main Street in what is known as The Christmas City.
These Christmas Huts are located in front of Central Moravian Church, founded in 1742. The buildings to the right are part of the South Campus of Moravian College, my alma mater, also founded in 1742.
On Christmas Eve 1741, in a stable, while a small group of Moravians were singing a hymn with the stanza “Not Jerusalem, Lowly Bethlehem” Count Nicolaus Ludwig Von Zinzendorf christened this little town “Bethlehem.” Since that time Christmas in Bethlehem has been central to the city’s identity. From the first documented decorated Christmas tree in America to the efforts of the Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce to get Bethlehem nicknamed “Christmas City USA” in 1937, to the current time when both sides of the river boast Christmas markets filled with artisan craft, retail and food vendors, Bethlehem is rife with one Christmas celebration after another.