Christmas Time

The story of the birth of Our Lord centres around Mary and Joseph traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem as part of a census, but they could find no place to stay. Because there was no room in the inn, the baby Jesus is born in a stable and placed in a manger. His humble birth is celebrated by choirs of angels and shepherds. The Nativity scene is well known and celebrates the birth which was witnessed by shepherds and their flock in the stable. 

Later, and celebrated on January 6th, the Epiphany of the Lord, 3 kings (Magi) who had visited Herod and were told of the birth, followed the path of a bright new star and arrived at the most ordinary of places for a new king to be born. The baby Jesus was presented with precious gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh by the mysterious Magi.


The 3 kings never returned to Herod with their news and instead made their way home directly back to their own country.

The season of Advent is the period leading up to the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ which is celebrated on 25th December each year. Typically, the celebration begins with midnight Mass on the 24th when hymns and Carols are sung to usher in Christmas day. 


Advent begins with the 1st Sunday of Advent and it is a season of penance and prayer in preparation for Christmas. Saint Paul urges us to prepare for the coming of the Son of God in the flesh. Each week a picture or symbol is added to the Jesse Tree and each week a new Advent candle will be lit at Mass.


In Advent Week 1 we add the following symbols and who or what each symbol represents is shown  alongside.

Person Symbol
Adam & Eve



Ark & Dove

Abraham & Isaac

Dagger & fig. of Abraham


In Week 2 of Advent, we add:


Person   Symbol





Shepherd's Crook


Tablet inscribed with the 10 commandments


In Week 3 of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, we add:


Person Symbol
 Isaiah Scroll
 Jesse House
 David Harp
 Solomon Crown

In Week 4 of Advent, we add:


Person Symbol
 Joseph Hammer and Saw
 Mary A Rose
 John A writing tablet and pen
 Jesus Star

As well as the adornment of the Jesse tree, during Advent we light a candle on each Sunday before Christmas. Each week, the candles have a different meaning, and they are:


Week 1 - Candle of Hope

Week 2 - Candle of Peace

Week 3 - Candle of Joy

Week 4 - Candle of Love



They represent the virtues that Our Lord Jesus brought to the world.

Guiding Star

Lord, the sight of the guiding star,

brought hope, courage and joy

to those who had journeyed to find you. When our journey seems long,

when hope seems far away,

when our courage is failing

fill us with faith and trust;

shine your light on our fears,

lift our hearts with your joy.

Help us to recognise you

in our brothers and sisters

throughout the world;

show us how we can work together

so that we may all come to share in the life promised to us by Jesus,

the Saviour of us all.


At St. Peter and St. Michael, we are fortunate to be able to show examples of both Christmas time (tree and gifts) and the Nativity (Crib) to make our church festive and bright at a time which is dominated by family, friends, love and reflection.