Two contrasting Christmas services are due to be held at St Mary's Church in Saffron Walden next week.

The joyful service of Nine Lessons and Carols will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 6.30pm, and be livestreamed on YouTube.

This festival was first introduced in 1918 at King's College Chapel in Cambridge, to bring an imaginative approach to worship, and has become a traditional Christmas service of bible readings and carols sung by the choir and congregation.

The readings include prophecies of the coming of a saviour, and the story of Jesus's birth.

In contrast, a Blue Christmas service will be held at 7.30pm on Thursday, December 22.

The service recognises that some people experience loss and loneliness during the Christmas season due to death, disease, poverty or abuse.

Through the service, people are enabled to experience their grief and express what they are feeling, so that they can find a sense of calm and hope.

There will be further services on Christmas Eve, with the lighting of the Christmas tree, as well as Midnight Holy Communion.

On Christmas Day people are invited to attend Family Communion at 10am.

More details of all the upcoming Christmas services are available at