This Christmas should be a time for sharing, togetherness, faith and hope in the wake of the hardships of the last two years, according to voices in this year’s Church of England Christmas advert.
The four-minute promotional film features powerful personal reflections from people in a wide range of walks of life, speaking about what Christmas means to them.
It forms the centrepiece of the Church of England’s Advent and Christmas campaign #AtTheHeartOfChristmas which encourages people to hear the real Christmas story through their local church.
The soundtrack for the film is a new carol version of In the Bleak Midwinter by one of the country’s top young composers, Rebecca Dale, which has been released as a single earlier this week.
The track, recorded by St Martin’s Voices, under the direction of Andrew Earis, in the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, has already reached the top of the classical charts.
Local churches across the diocese will be welcoming their communities – onsite and online – to celebrate and share the good news of Christ’s birth with special services and events, supported by a wide range of national resources.
The resources include daily reflections over Christmas, available as a booklet, or free by email or on the #AtTheHeartOfChristmas app, as well as in audio form which can be accessed on Alexa and Google Home smart devices.
The film takes a look at what is “At the heart of Christmas” through personal stories, tales of hardships overcome, generosity, faith, Christmas memories and hopes for the future. Those taking part include frontline workers and volunteers who served their communities throughout the pandemic, clergy, a family, and pupils and teachers at a school in Hereford.
They sum up what is at the heart of Christmas for them through words including hope, family, happiness, togetherness, sharing and love.
Some speak about being separated from friends and family during lockdowns and looking forward to singing carols and meeting together, which were not possible for many people last Christmas amid the pandemic restrictions.
Share your church's Advent and Christmas posts on social media channels using #AtTheHeartOfChristmas.
Editors of A Church Near You can get a whole range of resources and templates. Click here to access the materials.