O Christmas Tree – Your branches green delight us!

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Each year volunteers work hard to decorate St. Stephen’s church in preparation for our Christmas worship. Hopefully the decorations are not a distraction nor a displacement of our worship of Jesus but an enhancement and inspiration for our Christmas celebrations.

St. Stephen’s is a building that looks its best when decorated with colour and light. The focal point is our 15ft tree draped in lights. The tradition of decorating fir trees for Christmas has many possible origins but was clearly part of Christmas celebrations for the emerging Lutheran church in 16th century Germany, and became popularised in Britain in Victorian times.

The well-known song ‘O Christmas Tree’ is based on the German song ‘O Tannenbaum‘ celebrating the true and faithful nature of the evergreen.

Come and join us for our Christmas worship – enjoy the beautiful decorations – and celebrate the birth of Jesus!

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Adeste Fideles – O Come All Ye Faithful

Christmas decoration ball on a piano against defocused lights background

Throughout the final week of Advent and into Christmas Day there are many opportunities to sing carols and join in our Christmas celebrations at St. Stephen’s.

Carols have become an established part of Christmas worship and celebrations of the birth of Jesus. They have been sung in England since the early 15th century. The songs we know specifically as carols were originally communal songs probably sung by groups of ‘wassailers‘, who went from house to house. It was only much later that carols began to be sung in church. The Latin version of ‘O Come All Ye faithful’ – Adeste Fideles – can be found in a collection of carols published as far back as 1582.

Carols by Candlelight on Sunday 17th December follows a traditional pattern of scripture readings interspersed by carols sung by the congregation and our community choir – volunteers who are passionate abut celebrating Christmas in music and song. This year they will perform versions of ‘O Holy Night’, a contemporary carol entitled ‘Born is the King’ and the Pentatonix arrangement of ‘Little Drummer Boy’  – first recorded by the Von Trapp family singers!

On Saturday 23rd December for the first time we are organising a nativity procession – retelling the story of the birth of Jesus with costume and carols around the parish. Starting at 5pm at the church – come and join us to see if there is no room at the inn!

Christmas Eve we have our Christingle service for all-ages at 5pm, with a more traditional service of Holy Communion starting at 11.30pm.

On Christmas Day at 10am there will be an upbeat,  celebration of the birth of Jesus at which all-ages are very welcome. Everyone is encouraged to show the gifts they have already received – if you open your presents in the morning!

At each there will be opportunity for us all to join in the worship of Jesus, Emmanuel – God with us – in carols both traditional and new.

All are welcome – so come all ye faithful!

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