|By Trish Steel|
I’ve just been to a wonderful candlelit carol service at the Church of the Holy Jesus, Lydbrook, in Gloucestershire. Over the past few years, the village has become famous for its Christmas Tree festival. People travel from all over the world to enjoy the spectacle, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Among the many stunning displays this year there’s a miniature automated alpine village complete with moving cable-cars and skiers zipping down the slopes, a Gruffalo hides in one of the trees, and you can write your own message on a white dove to add to a tree of memories. The festival was held on 13th, 14th and 15th December this year, although everything will be on view again during a mini-Christingle service at 3pm on Christmas Eve and again from 11:00pm that night, ahead of Midnight Mass. After that, there’ll be another chance to see the wonderful array of decorated trees during the short, hugely enjoyable family service at 9:30am on Christmas morning.
The holiday season is all too often a time of stress, noise and bustle. It’s lovely to take some time out to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas in the peace and serenity of a country church like this. You don’t need a star to guide you – just get up a bit earlier (!) on Christmas morning, set your sat.nav to GL17 9SH, and pop along to the 9:30am family service at the Church of the Holy Jesus, Lydbrook.