Christmas 2020

Christmas is one of the highlights of the Christian year and a time of great celebration.

Comfort and Joy holds together the hope that Christmas will bring joy and celebration after a uniquely difficult year with an acknowledgement that – for those who have lost loved ones or livelihoods, or who are potentially still not able to be together with loved ones – it may be the Church’s role, both nationally and locally, to provide consolation, rather than assume everyone will be ready to join in jubilation. 



Comfort and Joy Reflections: Nine Lessons and Carols for Christmas 

This booklet mirrors the structure of a traditional carol service, exploring both biblical texts and the words of much-loved Christmas carols.

The reflections for each day from Christmas Day to 2 January feature contributions from Kate Bottley, Jonathan Bryan, Bob Chilcott, Martha Collison, Stephen Cottrell, Guli Francis-Dehqani, Chine McDonald, Sally Phillips and Justin Welby.   Please sign up here.

To join in they will be made available freely via audio, smart speaker, as well as via app and email formats with accompanying prayer activities for children and families.  Working with the Archbishop of York's Youth Trust and the Evangelism & Discipleship team, the Church of England will also produce a series of youth reflections in December.  


Find a service near you

To find a Christmas service in your area please visit

From 26 November to 2 December, St Mary-le-Tower is hosting an online Christmas Tree festival, please visit here.

Look out for The Ipswich Noël a Christmas blessing released on 5 December 2020 at 5.00pm.  This ecumenical project is produced by The Revd Matt Key and The Revd Amy Key and will be available on social media.   

On Monday 21 December at 5.00pm the Mothers' Union are holding a Blue Christmas Service - this is a reflective service for those for whom Christmas is not going to be a happy and joyous time.  For further details please visit their website here

On Christmas Eve in East Bergholt they will be bringing Comfort and Joy to the village by having a float procession. With15 floats and two Nazarenes with a donkey. The Churchyard will also be decorated with lights with a star above the church and a Nativity scene in the porch.   The project also includes a donkey trail as 15 small donkeys, kindly made by East Bergholt High School, taking up their positions in the village. 

Would you like to follow the 'Footsteps through Advent' with Barrow Benefice?  24 artworks are being installed in Barrow and Risby one for each day from 1 December to Christmas Eve.  This also includes a nativity scene produced by local school children and displayed in their window. The parish was awarded funding from the Diocese Growth fund to support this project.  Further information is available on

The Revd Kiran Lotay, Curate at All Hallow's Ipswich is sharing Advent Poems produced with Inspiring Ipswich.  The first Advent track will be going live on Sunday at 2.00pm on their Youtube Channel here. The other tracks will be uploaded and go live at the same time each Sunday of Advent. 

Journeying through Advent with St Edmundsbury Cathedral

A Cathedral Posada statue (the figures of Mary and Joseph) will be visiting various locations and community groups in Bury St Edmunds, as we ask the question, “What does ‘Comfort and Joy’ mean to you?  Since 1586, Las Posadas has been a celebration in Mexico over nine days which represents the nine month pregnancy of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Many Christians in this country have honoured this tradition by hosting a ‘Posada’ statue for the night – sheltering Mary, Joseph and the unborn Christ for the night.  Follow Mary and Joseph on the Cathedral’s Facebook page as they make their journey.

Also, each day at 2.00pm, you can open a door of the musical Advent Calendar here.  A range of seasonal music awaits, including organ and choral recitals.

‘Christmas will be different this year, like it or not, but it doesn’t have to be without comfort and joy,’ comments the Very Revd Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury. ‘As we move through Advent, let’s focus on the comfort and joy you can bring to others this year. That might be by standing on the doorstep of your neighbour who you know will be on their own this year, by the shopping trip you make for someone who is vulnerable or by making a donation to your local Foodbank.’

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Christmas services

The candlelit service of Nine Lessons and Carols led by the Cathedral Choir will take place on both Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 December at 7.00pm.

On Thursday 24 December, the Crib service, aimed at families with young children, takes place at 2.00pm and 4.00pm.

Midnight Mass will start at 10.30 pm on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, there will be two services, one at 8.00am and one at 10.30am.

To book a place at any of the above services, please email by Thursday 17 December, stating clearly which service you would like to attend and how many places you require.  Please note that you may only book places at up to two of the above services.  Under the current restrictions, congregations are not permitted to sing in the Cathedral. Face coverings must be worn at all times (unless exempt).

‘Christmas will be different this year, like it or not, but we hope that through carols, readings and liturgy, people will find comfort and joy,’ comments the Very Revd Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury. ‘I pray that Christmas will be for everyone a time when the abundance of Emmanuel, God-with-us comes close.’

In the week leading up to Christmas (21-24 December) night prayers will be said at 9.00pm and available on the Cathedral’s Facebook page  Full details of the Cathedral’s Christmas Services are available on their website.

Lightwave Christmas 

Lightwave are offering a family Christingle Service by Zoom on Sunday 6 December at 4.00pm. 

Doorstep Carols in Suffolk - Join Lightwave and the national campaign to sing carols together on your doorstep and spread some much needed cheer.  On Wednesday 16 December at 6.00pm - tell your friends and share the Facebook event on social media so we can get as many people as possible involved.  This will be featured on local radio in Suffolk on: Ipswich - 103.9 FM, West Suffolk - 104.6 FM, Lowestoft - 95.5 FM and Aldeburgh - 95.5 FM. 

Christmas Carol Cafe - 3.00-4.00pm Saturday 19 December - Join Lightwave for mince pies, chocolate logs and hot Christmas drinks in their pop-up carol café - with live Christmas music and the Christmas story.   

Lightwave are also hosting Carols by Car Light at Debenham Community Centre on Sunday 20 December 2020.  

Visit for up to date information.



Please read The Revd James Marstons thoughts on Christmas this year in his article appearing in the East Anglian Daily Times on Saturday 30 September 2020. 

Christmas 2020 | Weblink


For further information 

Comfort and Joy | Weblink

Church of England Christmas | Weblink

Christingle Services | Weblink

Planning your Christmas service | Weblink



Updated 30 November 2020.