This year’s national Church of England Christmas campaign is called At the Heart of Christmas. It comes with a bank of resources that local churches can personalise and use to connect with communities.
In 2020, many of us experienced a Christmas when so many of the ways we traditionally mark the season were suddenly denied to us.
This year, of course, we hope and pray that many of the familiar experiences that help Christmas come alive return to our homes, our churches and communities. But whatever else December brings, it will offer us an opportunity to enter more deeply into the joyful mystery that lies at its heart: God becoming human in the birth of Jesus Christ.
Inspired by readings from the Gospels of Luke and John read at so many Christmas services, At the heart of Christmas is an invitation to everyone to discover – or rediscover – the good news of God’s saving love as revealed in the birth of Jesus. It is also a challenge to each of us to ponder in our hearts – as Mary did – what the extraordinary events of the first Christmas might mean for us now and in the years ahead.
At the heart of Christmas is a deliberately simple and open theme – one that we hope can be used by local churches to invite their communities to share in celebrating the good news of Christmas in a whole variety of ways, whatever the prevailing circumstances.
At the heart of Christmas will consist of 12 Stories and Meditations from Justin Welby, Stephen Cottrell and guests where they will share personal stories exploring themes close to the heart of Christmas.
Starting on Christmas Eve and continuing daily (Monday to Saturday) until the Epiphany (6 January), At the Heart of Christmas: 12 Days of stories and meditations for Christmas will help you make space for that exploration. On each of the twelve days, a different contributor will share something that lies close to the heart of Christmas for them, bringing the theme to life through a mixture of personal story, Bible reading, reflection and questions to ponder.
These reflections will also be made available freely via:
- app with accompanying resources for children and families
- the Church House Publishing Booklet, along with other shareable print resources (free mailing to clergy).
Daily Advent reflections will be also available Monday to Saturday for those who want them via the app with audio. The content will explore the Advent Morning Prayer readings from Matthew’s Gospel and feature content from Reflections for Daily Prayer by Stephen Cottrell and Guli Francis-Dehqani. The Church House Publishing booklet Reflections for Advent 2021 has content also shared free digitally including audio.
A Church Near You editors can download customisable resources from the ACNY Resource Hub. Please do tag all your Christmas events to make them searchable – huge numbers of people visit the ACNY pages in the run-up to Christmas, so ensuring things are up to date, welcoming and inclusive helps to make your church part of more people’s Christmas.
Bookmarks, prayer cards, family prayer cards and booklets are available for churches to purchase, as in previous years.