ChristmasNot the tree festival - but seeking comfort and joy this Chrsitmas!
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR ALVERSTOKE ‘BIG VOICE’ MAGAZINE: DECEMBER 2020
It is hard for us to imagine Christmas this year.
For sure, we can continue to tell story of Jesus’ birth which remains the same in proclaiming God’s love for all people – a message which has been steadfast through all generations, upheavals and plagues over the past 2000 years. But I for one am struggling to imagine how we can gather to celebrate as a community and indeed as family groups with ever increasing restrictions, and whilst many people in the UK and beyond are in significant lock downs. Especially those many who this Christmas will be facing the anguish of losing their loved ones in ways that are compounded by the virus.
In Alverstoke we’ll do our best as a parish church to offer the opportunity to tell the story, to pray and thank God for Jesus – born to proclaim God’s love and to save us! It is in the hope of that message that we pray that readers will know both comfort and joy for Christmas.
To help us do this we do propose to host a few repeated (and ticketed) 40 minute Carol Services for 50 people at a time in St.Mary’s – one on each Sunday in Advent. That way we hope that about 200 people will be able to enjoy listening to the choir sing our classic carols!
We’ll also have a ‘Knitted Angel Nativity Trail’ throughout the village shops – for families to spot the nativity characters in the shop windows and follow the trail to the special crib we hope to have outside St.Mary’s Church.
There will also be some repeated family ‘Crib Services’ – but we’re sorry that these will be so limited to 50 people this year. Normally we welcome 400 folk to each of our Crib Services… this year they’ll be spaced out and repeated.
Even so 5000 of us will miss the tradition of our incredible Christmas Tree Festival. But, not to worry because we offer our alternative ‘Not the Christmas Tree Festival’!
Our online festival will be a 30 minute celebration for you to view at home – with wonderful photos of the trees and lights and telling the story of our community extravaganza. It will be released online on 10th December – the day the festival would have started.
Please check our website and Facebook pages for details of all of these ways in which we seek to celebrate Christmas together as a community in Alverstoke parish.
With our warmest greetings of hope and peace to you for Christmas 2020, that you may know God’s comfort and joy.
Revd Andy Norris, Rector