Come and celebrate the joy of Christmas

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Reverend Andy Norris, rector of St Mary’s Church in Alverstoke, talks about upcoming events at the church

That’s what you can see inside St Mary’s in Alverstoke at our Christmas Tree Festival, which happens next weekend.

We’ve asked more than 80 local groups, businesses and individuals to decorate trees in a style that says something about them. You’ll can smell the pine, see the twinkling lights and enjoy spectacular decorations from December 10 to 13.

It’s the seventh year that we’ve done this, and last year we welcomed more than 4,000 visitors. It really brings the community together at this important time of year.

The festival is always enriched by music.

Last year there were 975 musicians and singers taking part, and this year we have a full music programme too, embracing carols, classical music, contemporary songs and more.

Many of the musicians are young children, who will be performing in public for the first time.

Why not join us, from 11am to 6pm on Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12, and then from midday to 6pm on Sunday, December 13?

It costs only £3 to get in – £2 for concessions and accompanied children are free.

And as Christmas continues, our three churches of St Mary’s, St Francis and St Faith’s will be packed. We’re hosting schools, uniformed organisations and community groups for their carol services and nativity events.

Among them is our Carol Praise and Nativity at St Mary’s at 10.45am on December 20. The children come in Nativity costumes and re-enact the story of the first Christmas. That evening at 6.30pm is Nine Lessons and Carols service at the same church.

St Mary’s also hosts family services around the crib, at 3pm and then repeated at 4.30pm on Christmas Eve – and the Midnight Communion there starts at 11pm.

Meanwhile, St Francis Church in Clayhall has its Carol Service at 11.15am on December 13.

And St Faith’s Church in Tribe Road, Leesland has its family-friendly Christingle and Crib Service at 4pm on Christmas Eve, and then midnight communion at 11.30pm.

However you choose to celebrate, we pray that you will remember just how mind-blowing it is that God chose to make himself human by coming to Earth in the form of Jesus.

n St Mary’s Church is in Green Road, Alverstoke. Call (023) 9258 0551 or