Diocese of Portsmouth

Come celebrate Christmas at Church

Celebrating Christmas differently this year

Christmas is a special time of the year, where usually churches and families will celebrate the birth of Jesus together through various services, parties and meals.

This year things will be very different, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The latest news is that churches will be open for carol services before and on Christmas Day, but with restrictions on attendance in place. Those who turn up in person will have to practice social distancing, wear face-coverings and will be unable to join in the singing. Those watching live-streamed or pre-recorded carol services at home will be able to sing the carols

Despite this year's difficulties, there are many ways, and many resources available, to help everyone find new ways of celebrating Advent and Christmas, with consideration for those who will be finding this time of the year very difficult.

Preparing for Advent and Christmas 2020: Comfort and Joy

Comfort and Joy holds together the hope that Christmas will bring joy and celebration after a uniquely difficult year with an acknowledgement that – for those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods, or who are potentially still not able to be together with loved ones – it may be the Church’s role, both nationally and locally, to provide consolation, rather than assume everyone will be ready to join in jubilation.

“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.” This year’s resources from the Church of England’s Comfort and Joy campaign include:

  • Weekly reflections for each Sunday in advent, via social media, email and the app.
  • Daily reflections via a booklet, email, the app and through smart speakers.
  • Online Sunday services.
  • Printed bookmarks, cards, banners, flyers, posters and booklets via Church House Publishing.
  • 70 Advent and Christmas hymns, carols, worship songs, organ voluntaries and children’s music via the A Church Near You resource hub (you will need to be an Editor of your parish’s ACNY account to access this site).
  • Advent and Christmas themed music, prayers and reflections via the Daily Hope phone number (0800 804 8044).

Events in our diocese

Among the events that reflect this year’s difficulties are:

Promote your events through ACNY

Don't forget to add your Advent and Christmas events to your A Church Near You account, to give them greater visibility over this period. Last year the ACNY site received hundreds of thousands of visits, many focused over the Advent period and especially the 72 hours leading up to Christmas Day. Although you may not be able to welcome many people to your church buildings, if you're providing a live-streamed or pre-recorded Christmas service(s) then make sure as many people get to hear about it.