The John Lewis Christmas advert has undoubtedly become a staple of the festive season, with stories including a young girl who spots a lonely old man on the moon having previously gripped the nation.

But while many of us may simply turn our minds onto other pressing festive matters after seeing the annual campaign, the messages that they deliver linger in the minds of many. 

One such person this year is the Right Reverend Dr David Court, the Bishop of Grimsby, who will be delivering the Christmas Day service at Lincoln Cathedral.

This year's John Lewis Christmas advert, entitled "An Unexpected Guest", tells the story of a young boy who falls in love with an alien after showing her the staples of Christmas on earth.

Acknowledging the fact that delivering Christmas Day services means delivering the same story every year, Reverend Court says that he tries to find new ways of doing so on each occasion.

He told Lincolnshire Live: "During the festive period, the congregation obviously expect to hear the Christmas story but you have to be careful to not totally repeat yourself every year.

"So it is about finding new ways to tell that story and to bring home its key messages and there are several ways in which you can do that, but I must say that the John Lewis Christmas advert this year has been an absolute gift.

"It obviously tells the story of an unexpected guest and so in many ways that will be able to provide me with inspiration this year."

Reverend Court was appointed as the Bishop of Grimsby in 2014, and was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury at St Paul's Cathedral later that year.

In 2019, Reverend Court was chosen to serve as the acting Bishop of Lincoln following the suspension of the former holder Christopher Lowson, who failed to respond appropriately to safeguarding disclosures.

A new acting Bishop of Lincoln, Stephen Conway, has now been installed and the process to appoint a permanent replacement has begun.

But Reverend Court will still be delivering the Christmas Day sermon at Lincoln Cathedral this year and despite the breathtaking nature of the venue, he says that he has another preferred setting for festive services.

He said: "The cathedral is of course a magnificent venue, but particularly around Christmas, there is nothing quite like the intimate, close-knit community atmosphere that you get in a small village church.

"I think in a smaller setting like that you also get a stronger sense of the community that you are addressing, which can make what you're saying more powerful and relevant to them.

"I am obviously used to delivering sermons to large numbers of people, but I can't pretend that there isn't an added pressure when doing so at Christmas."

This year's Christmas services at churches and cathedrals across the UK come after a year in which they were severely restricted by coronavirus restrictions, and in many cases cancelled. 

But this year, services are back in full swing and several events have been held at Lincoln Cathedral over this festive period, including a performance of The Snowman accompanied by a live orchestra.

Reverend Court said: "For so many people, going to church to hear the Christmas story is such a special and magical part of their experience over the festive period and so I like to make sure that they are getting that experience.

"I'm also very mindful of the fact that for many people, Christmas will be the only time that they go to a church or a cathedral and they are of course people that we absolutely embrace." 

With a new acting Bishop of Lincoln now in place, Reverend Court says that he will now be turning his focus back to his role as the Bishop of Grimsby.

He added: "It's been an absolute privilege to serve in this role and step in, but I will be focusing back on Grimsby from the new year and I am keen to get back to the day job."