Christmas is a special time of year - the time we mark the birth of Jesus. We start our celebration of Christmas, 4 weeks before with Advent. During Advent we have an Advent Ring in church, this is a ring of four red candles surrounding one white candle, and each Sunday before Christmas we light one more red candle, until all four red candles are lit.
The anticipation of Christmas mounts on the last Sunday before Christmas, as we decorate the church, set up the Crib Scenes, put up, and decorate the Christmas Trees, and in the evening hold a traditional Carol Service.
There is an atmosphere of excitement on Christmas Eve, when we hold a Crib Service with Carols. A beautiful spectacle unfolds as local children and their parents, come dressed as Shepherds, Kings, Lambs, Camels, Angels, and Mary and Joseph, and take part in the re-enactment of the Nativity.
Finally on Christmas Eve we celebrate Midnight Mass when the fifth, and final, Advent Candle is lit, this is the white candle, its lighting represents the birth of Christ on Christmas Day; Christ is the light of the world.
At springtime our spirits are lifted as we emerge from the cold, dark days of winter, it is a time of rebirth and resurrection – new life is born and new growth appears from the earth. It is appropriate then, that Easter falls at this this time of the year, the time when Christ died on the cross for us all, then rose again like new life emerging from the cold dark earth. In the same way that the coming of spring lifts our spirits, we celebrate Easter, not because Christ died, but because he was resurrected from the dead.
We start our celebration of Easter with Palm Sunday, when we mark Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem; his way strewn with palm leaves as the people welcomed him as the saviour.
On Good Friday we follow his journey to the cross through the Stations of the Cross, and finally on Easter Sunday, we celebrate his resurrection.
During Easter the church is decorated with displays depicting his journey from his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, through his betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane, to his death on the cross and finally to his resurrection from the grave. We invite local school children into church to see this as part of the ‘Easter Experience’ and they learn that Easter is much more than a chocolate egg.