We will celebrate the light Jesus brings

LIT UP The local community came together to celebrate the Christmas tree festival in Alverstoke
LIT UP The local community came together to celebrate the Christmas tree festival in Alverstoke
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The Rev Chris Richardson, Curate at St Mary’s, St Francis and St Faith’s, is looking forward to celebrating Candlemas

There’s something about Christmas lights that we all love.

I’ve enjoyed seeing many houses decorated with bright, colourful lights as I have passed by and I have delighted in seeing lights dancing around Christmas trees in the homes of my family and friends.

Over 4,000 people, including over 700 performers, visited us in the parish of Alverstoke during our annual Christmas tree festival.

I will never forget the moment when the lights on our 82 trees were turned on.

We went from darkness to light in an instant.

Our packed church broke into spontaneous applause as we took in the view, ate mince pies and drank mulled wine.

Over 1,300 people celebrated the birth of Jesus, the light of life, with us on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

As one of the choirs sang Once in Royal David’s City by candlelight, we knew that Christmas had begun.

Now, with many others, I’m looking forward to celebrating Jesus, the light of the world, during Candlemas on Sunday, January 31 at 6.30pm in St. Mary’s Church.

Forty days after the birth of a Jewish boy, it was customary to take him to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to God by his thankful parents.

In Luke’s gospel, we read that as the baby Jesus was being presented in the temple by Mary and Joseph, they were met by Simeon and Anna in the temple courts. Holding Jesus in his arms, Simeon recognised that 
Jesus is the light of the world.

When Jesus grew up he said: ‘I am the light of the world.

‘Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’

During Candlemas, the church will be lit up with candles as we celebrate the light that Jesus brings into this world.

Responding to the events in Paris, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote: ‘We choose life and hope, to overcome their hate with the power of God’s love.’

The candlelit church will be a wonderful reminder that Jesus brings hope for the present as well as for the future.

ST MARY’S CHURCH, Green Road, Alverstoke, PO12 2ET

Contact the parish office on 023-9258 0551.

Website: www.stmarysalverstoke.org.uk