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Preparing for Advent & Christmas 2020 

Christmas this year will feel different. The family gatherings may well be smaller. For at least some of us, we may be joining in the familiar carols online rather than in church. But it will still be – as always – a time to care for one another and to be together.

It will be a time to look back on a year when so much has changed. To remember those who have died, to support those who have lost jobs, to be thankful for all who have cared for the sick and the vulnerable.

What has not changed is the story and the meaning of Jesus’ birth. God is with us. With us in the mess as in the good, in the disappointment and the difficulty, in sorrow and in celebration.

The Church of England has created a new Advent and Christmas theme this year to reflect the current Covid context. It is hoped that 'Comfort and Joy' will better enable us to reflect where the country is and will be by the end of this year.

This Christmas the Church will need, in the words of St Paul in Romans 12:15, to ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep’. We will aim to celebrate where we can together in one place – but also embrace a wider community that wants to join in the celebration but may not be physically able – or emotionally ready – to do so.

Resources will be released over the next few weeks and can be found on this page.  To view the Comfort and Joy Booklet click here.

What will be available
There will be a series of short reflections posted here for each Sunday of Advent and a number of short reflections exploring the theme. 

Comfort and Joy: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas mirrors the structure of a traditional carol service, exploring both biblical texts and the words of much-loved Christmas carols. 

Countdown to Christmas
There’s something very special about the Advent Sundays leading up to when Jesus was born. Join in with these activities as we prepare for and celebrate Christmas – and as we remember the Comfort and Joy that Jesus brings to us all.  Download the Advent Activity Calendar.  Click here

Online Services and Events
In collaboration with a range of Christian charities and organisations, we will produce nine online services throughout Advent and Christmas. This will include an online service for each Sunday of Advent, a Christingle with the Children's Society, nine lessons and carols and midnight services. Charities involved include Christian Aid, Church Army, Embrace and Marie Curie. The online weekly services have been very well received on social media and continue to attract a diverse audience including regular churchgoers, people exploring faith and a wide age demographic.
Click here

Daily Hope
Daily Hope is a free phone number (0800 804 8044) offering music, prayers and reflections as well as full worship services from the Church of England at the end of a telephone line. We are delighted that the Comfort and Joy reflections, services and some of the music will also be available throughout Advent and Christmas. 

We await further guidance on what the government restrictions will allow for Advent and Christmas, however St John's  will continue to provide online services via our Virtual Church page through out the season.

Karen Stirrup, 15/11/2020