Advent, as a church season, begins on Sunday 3 December this year and it is almost a week shorter this year. So we have less time to prepare for Christmas, less time for sorting out community Christmas trees and fitting in Carol Services. On Advent Sunday the lights will be switched on the Christmas tree outside the Red Lion on 3 December.
During Advent our knitted Mary and Joseph will be travelling round the parish again as they journey towards Bethlehem. You may spot them, or a sheep perhaps, on some window-sills in the village. And they will arrive back at All Saints for the Parish Crib Service at 4pm on Christmas Eve. We hope the children are in church to greet them.
At Christmas we celebrate, of course, the birth of God’s Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and we remember Jesus’ words: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ and ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ as we particularly think of families and individuals whose struggle to manage becomes even tougher at this time of year. Please take time in this busy month to pray for those in need and to give in some way towards the work of a charity. The collections at our church services will be given to charity.
We begin Christmas at church on Wednesday 13 December with Preston School Carol Service at St Martin’s at 7.00pm. Then on Sunday 17 December we have the Christingle Service at St Martin’s Preston at 4.00pm which is a lovely service for young families who help us with creating our version of the stable in Bethlehem ready for Christmas. The following week Preston Village Voices have a concert in church on Thursday 21 December at 7.00pm and the Red Lion has its traditional carol-singing on Friday 22 December.
Also on 17 December at 6pm our traditional Candlelit Carol Service takes place at All Saints’ with refreshments afterwards. We are delighted that St Paul’s Walden School choir and Whitwell Village Voices are joining us once again. Thank you Mrs Johnson.
Our traditional St Martin’s Communion service with carols takes place on Christmas Eve at 10.00pm and we have a joint Communion service at St Martin’s at 10.00am on 31 December. Details of all services in the Parish Christmas card.
So it will be a busy December in Preston with switching the lights on the tree, the various school events and services, the Christingle Service, the concert in church and the Red Lion carol-singing, and our special Communion service on Christmas Eve. I hope to see you on some of these occasions.
With my prayers and best wishes to you and your families for Christmas and the New Year.