Highest turnout yet for Aberdeen nativity blessing to remember Christmas story

An annual service blessing a city nativity scene drew its largest crowd yet as pupils from five primary schools attended.

Members of Aberdeen Churches Together, Aberdeen City Lord Provost Barney Crockett and Councillor Jennifer Stewart were joined by pupils from Hanover Street Primary, Holy Family RC School, Robert Gordon’s College Junior School, St Joseph’s RC Primary School and St Peter’s RC Primary School.

The service blessed the Christmas nativity scene in the grounds of St Nicholas Kirkyard in Aberdeen city centre.

Pupils led the crowd in several timeless Christmas songs and hymns such as Come And Join The Celebration, What Gift Will I Bring?, Silent Night and Unto Us A Child Is Born.

The crowd also enjoyed readings and blessings from Salvation Army major Gillian Hoitinga and the Dean of the Diocese of Aberdeen Emsley Nimmo.

For primary five teacher at Hanover Street Primary, Ms Alison Gray, this year marked her first visit to the blessing service.

She said: “It was great to come and see all of the schools singing together, our preparations for our Christmas assembly are well under way.”

Pupil Jeanne Bernadus, 8, was also pleased to attend the service and declared Unto Us A Child Is Born her favourite hymn.

She added her favourite part of Christmas is “staying up late and seeing Santa”.

Cllr Crockett said: “The message of joy and hope that the nativity represents is something that everyone in the city can appreciate.

“It’s a busy time of year for many people, but it’s important we take the time to think about the meaning of the Christmas story while we celebrate with our friends and family.

“It’s been a fabulous turnout, the highest I’ve seen.

“I think it gets bigger every year.”

Councillor Jennifer Stewart, who represents the Hazlehead, Queen’s Cross and Countesswells ward, was one of the original councillors – along with Martin Greig, who also attended – who filed the motion to have the nativity scene installed.

She said: “It’s a peaceful haven for people to come and have a look at the nativity, to sit and have a quiet moment away from the hustle and bustle.

“Christmas is a time for emotion, particularly for older people to think about those who have come and gone and so I think we need that – it’s not just about shop cash registers ringing.”

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