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C of E animation: ‘Christmas 2020 is not cancelled’

04 December 2020

YouTube/Church of England

A still from the Comfort and Joy video

A still from the Comfort and Joy video

THE Church of England’s Christmas video seeks to remind people that the festival “is not cancelled”, the Archbishops’ Council’s head of life events, Canon Sandra Millar, said this week.

Titled Comfort and Joy, the animated video, which is just under three minutes long, was released on Monday evening, and is the first in a series of online services and reflections that will be made available by the Church of England between now and Epiphany.

Narrated by the food writer and former contestant on The Great British Bake Off, Martha Collison, the video shows families coming together for Christmas, but also refers to bereavement and separation from relatives because of the pandemic. So far it has attracted more than 17,000 views on YouTube.

YouTube/Church of EnglandA still from the Comfort and Joy video

It asks people to remember that there will still be available “the greatest story of all – with light from the stable and the Christ child promising comfort and joy for everyone”.

It is designed for parishes and cathedrals to adapt it for their own use during Advent and Christmastide.

Canon Millar, who wrote the script for the video, said on Tuesday that she wanted the video to convey the complicated feelings that many would have during the Christmas period this year, while cherishing the positive message at the heart of it.

“Christmas is not cancelled, but is a timeless truth for everyone, however we spend the days,” she said.

YouTube/Church of EnglandA still from the Comfort and Joy video

“Through my work around welcome and life events, we have developed a way of writing and communicating that connects with those on the edge or beyond church, but this is the first time my text has been so beautifully linked to visual images and music.

“I simply tried to imagine what Christmas might feel like this year — aware of the huge mixed emotions that are around and trying to balance the simply happy things with the deep fears and sadness.

“My work around funerals in particular has made me very aware of grief this year, and that actually the story of the birth of Jesus speaks into every situation across time and place.”

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