Bath Abbey will be packed to the rafters as worshippers from across Bath and beyond will join in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day this year – a celebration that will be transmitted live across the nation on BBC One.
The service, which will start at 10.00am and last for an hour, builds upon the theme of “healing hope”.
As well as major contributions from the Abbey choirs and a celebration of Holy Communion, a central emphasis will be placed on the Abbey’s missions in Bath and across the world.
There will be testimony from Abbey clergy who recently visited Beit Sahour in Palestine, from a Church warden connected with a home for orphaned children in Tamil Nadu, India and a contribution from a member of the Genesis Trust supporting the homeless here in Bath.
The centrepieces of the decorations are two large Christmas trees that stand either side of the main stage.
One is decorated in the traditional way but the other is unusually and specially decorated with items which speak to the theme of the service.
Visitors enquiring about this ‘strangely decorated tree’ are encouraged to tune in on Christmas day to find out more.
Speaking on the event, Revd Stephen Girling, Bath Abbey Missioner, said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us to show the Abbey at its best.
“Our staff and volunteers have worked tirelessly with the BBC to ensure this is a celebration worthy of the joyfulness of the birth of Jesus Christ.
“We hope people will see the Abbey as it is in everyday life; a tremendous mix of young and old, formal and informal, traditional and contemporary – demonstrating the love of God right at the heart of a busy international city.”