A time of busyness, anticipation and hope, the services, music and events at York Minster reflect the joy and poignancy of the Christmas story.
For the Very Revd Dominic Barrington, this will be his first experience of Advent and Christmas at York Minster since his installation as the 77th Dean of York last month. Dominic said: “At this very special time of year, we reflect on the heart-stopping vulnerability of the Holy family seeking a safe place for the birth of Jesus Christ. I look forward to welcoming you to York Minster - in person or from home via livestream - to celebrate the miracle and joy of Jesus’s birth.”
York Minster’s Advent and Christmas highlights are set out below (for full details go to www.yorkminster.org or telephone 01904 557200).
Sunday 27 November, Advent Procession, 5.30pm
An atmospheric and breath-taking candlelit service of music, and prayers for Advent, in celebration of the arrival of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. This service will also be livestreamed. (Free tickets required.)
Friday 2 December, Sankta Lucia: Festival of Light, 7.30pm
An atmospheric, candlelit procession and carol service for all the family based on the traditional Swedish Lucia celebration (York Anglo-Scandinavian Society).
Saturday 3 December, Saturday Mornings at York Minster, 10.00am
Mark the opening of the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival with craft activities and a short service for all the family.
Saturday 3 December, the York Minster Christmas Tree Festival (until 5 January 2023)
Explore Christmas trees beautifully decorated to individual themes in the stunning Chapter House and the Lady Chapel. Free with general admission.
Saturday 3 December, Praetorius and Schütze with Gabrieli Roar, 7.30pm
School students will join Gabrieli Roar’s world-class musicians to present ‘In Dulci Jubilo’, a festive celebration of the spectacular music of Michael Praetorius and Heinrich Schütz.
Thursday 8 and Friday 9 December, Christmas Carol Concerts, 7.00pm
The Revd Richard Coles, author, broadcaster and presenter, is the reader for this year’s concerts featuring festive carols, readings and poetry. Music by the Choir of York Minster.
Saturday 10 December, The Snowman (by Carrot Productions), 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Make it a Christmas to remember with a special screening of this family favourite accompanied by a live orchestra.
Saturday 17 December, The Archbishop of York reads The Sleepy Shepherd, 10.30am
Stephen Cottrell, the Archbishop of York, will give a reading from his book The Sleepy Shepherd in the Lady Chapel. An enchanting Christmas tale for children aged 5-7, the book tells the story of Silas, who as a boy, misses the visit of the angels and the chance to greet the Christ-child in Bethlehem. Years later as a grown man, he makes an important decision – to be a real shepherd to a man whose friends have all fallen asleep. This is a free non-ticketed event. Spaces will operate on a first come first served basis. All are welcome.
Saturday 17 December, Carols by Candlelight, 7.30pm
This annual favourite in the stunning Nave of York Minster will also include the Chapter House Choir, traditional choral items and festive music performed by the Handbell Ringers of the Chapter House Choir.
Tuesday 20 December, G4 Christmas, 7.30pm
Experience sumptuous harmonies in an idyllic, festive setting. Hear timeless classics as well as delightful medleys to evoke the Christmas spirit.
Christmas Week Services at York Minster
Thursday 22 December, 5.30pm and Saturday 24 December, 4.00pm, Nine Lessons and Carols
The two traditional services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the Choir of York Minster and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. (Free tickets required).
Christmas Eve – Saturday 24 December
11.30am, Crib Service
The Christmas story in a fun and accessible format with carols, musical accompaniment and the chance to see the crib. Children are encouraged to dress up as characters from the Nativity. (Free tickets required).
4.00pm, Nine Lessons and Carols
The second of two services consisting of nine special readings, carols sung by the York Minster Choir and hymns for everyone to join in. A traditional Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (livestream available). (Free tickets required)
11.30pm, First Eucharist of Christmas
The First Communion of Christmas with Blessing of the Crib and choral music.
Christmas Day - 25 December
8.00am, Holy Communion
A service from the Book of Common Prayer.
10.00am, Choral Matins
A joyous service sung by the Choir of York Minster.
11.00am, Sung Eucharist
Christmas Day worship at York Minster with the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell and the Choir of York Minster (livestream available).
4.00pm, Choral Evensong
York Minster’s worship for Christmas Day ends with a service of Evensong, sung by the Choir of York Minster (livestream available).