1st Sunday in Advent & Baptism

This short act of worship has been prepared for you. I invite you to share in a few moments with God, knowing that other people within Paulton,Trinity and Chew Stoke Methodist Churches are sharing this act of worship with you.

Revd Martin Slocombe






We hang Tinsel on our Christmas Trees…

May the Tinsel be a reminder to us that our God is the God of history, the God of the present and the God of the future, the God of grace and love who encircles and entwines the world and all it’s people and is reflected and shines in our living, in our words and in our deeds.

We light our first Candle as reminder of God’s being reflected through time and revealed in our lives today.



Advent God as we set out on our Advent journey, let us be aware in this season of Advent of the power of your being, present in all generations and in all peoples, revealed above all in Jesus.  May we see and know your being entwined, like tinsel, in all aspects of our living and our loving and our very being.  Amen

Hymn - Jesus is the heart of Christmas

Jesus is the heart of Christmas,
give the Lord his rightful place!
Garlands, gleam with his charisma,
tinsel, glisten with his grace!
Jesus is the heart of Christmas
welcome him with love and praise!

Welcome to Beatrice, David & Nathalie and their family

Hymn – Lo, he comes with clouds descending

   1      Lo, he comes with clouds descending,
           once for favoured sinners slain;
           thousand thousand saints attending
           swell the triumph of his train:
           God appears on earth to reign.

   2      Every eye shall now behold him
           robed in glorious majesty;
           we who set at nought and sold him,
           pierced and nailed him to the tree,
           deeply wailing,
           shall the true Messiah see.

   3      Those dear tokens of his passion
           still his dazzling body bears;
           cause of endless exultation
           to his ransomed worshippers:
           with what rapture
           gaze we on those glorious scars.

   4      Sing, amen, let all adore thee,
           high on thine eternal throne;
           Saviour, take the power and glory,
           claim the kingdom for thine own:
           come, Lord Jesus!
           Everlasting God, come down!

Charles Wesley (1707–1788)

Baptism of Beatrice Edith 

Let us pray.

Generous God,

touch us again

with the fire of your Spirit

and renew in us all

the grace of our Baptism;

that we may profess the one true faith 

and live in love and unity 

with all who are baptized into Christ.  Amen.


We say together the prayer that Jesus gave us:        

Our Father in heaven,               

hallowed be your Name,               

your kingdom come,                 

your will be done,                      

on earth as in heaven.               

Give us today our daily bread.  

Forgive us our sins                        

as we forgive those who sin against us.                

Save us from the time of trial        

and deliver us from evil.            

For the kingdom, the power and the glory          

are yours,                         

now and for ever.  Amen.              


Hymn – This child from God above

             1.To bear the eternal Name,

                    to walk the Master's way,

                    the Father's covenant to claim,

                    the Spirit's will obey;


  1. To take the Saviour's cross,

                    in faith to hold it fast;

                    and for it reckon all things loss

                    as long as life shall last;


  1. To tell his truth abroad,

                    to tread the path he trod,

                    with all who love and serve the Lord,

                    the family of God.

Words © 1979 Hope Publishing Company, 380 S Main Pl, Carol Stream, IL 60188

Reading – Luke 21: 25-36

The Coming of the Son of Man

25 ‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

29 Then he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees;30as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Exhortation to Watch

34 ‘Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.’


How good are you at being patient and waiting?

I have to say I was a little unnerved when Nathalie rang to ask if her baby could be baptised here before the church closed, because she rang me a couple of weeks before Beatrice was born.  I think she was running out of things to do while waiting for the great day, so had gone ahead to think about her baptism, which is lovely, if not a little unusual.  Perhaps she was getting tired of waiting? 

The important question is, was everything ready when Beatrice did make her appearance? 

When she did arrive just 7 weeks ago, David & Nathalie only just managed to get to the RUH in time, with just a few minutes to spare.  Perhaps Beatrice was getting bored of waiting as well.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent, almost time to open your first advent calendar door and eat the first chocolate.  Advent marks that special time in the church diary during which we wait patiently and prepare for the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

Our reading warns us of the dangers of missing the big event if we are “weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life.”  As good Methodists, we might be prone to the last, but surely not the first two.  But it is a good warning.  As we get so busy preparing, we should be mindful that we should not be so busy that we miss the importance of the great event altogether.

For our opening Advent liturgy, Lesley placed a length of tinsel on our Advent Ring.  I have also brought a very special piece of tinsel with me today, chosen in honour of Beatrice, in a lovely shade of pink.

Pink Tinsel

Our liturgy reminded us that God is the God of history, the present and the future.  And that means that we don’t have to be patient and wait for 25th December, God is here right with us, right now, and in every moment, just as He always has been, and always will be.  We don’t have to ask for a sign, but just open our eyes to see signs of him in the world around us already.

Like this tinsel, the presence of God is a thread which entwines itself around all parts of our lives.  It is not just for Christmas, or even for Sundays, but for every day, starting now.  All we have to do is to recognise it’s presence and to embrace the message of love which God brings to us.

In the words of the classic Christmas song by Wizzard, “I wish it could be Christmas everyday”.  Well, the good news is that it can.

Every year we have a bit of a fight in our house about when we should put up the Christmas tree.  I favour the Sunday before Christmas, but my daughter wants to put it up much earlier, and enjoy Christmas for much longer.  This year she has moved out of our house, and so there is no fight.  And her tree was up 3 weeks ago!

The problem with the tree comes when you put it back in the box and into the loft for another year.  If Jesus goes with it, you have missed the chance to share your lives with the Christmas of history, the present and the future.  For Christians, everyday should be Christmas Day.  Knowing God’s presence in our lives should be a sparkling and wonderful existence, which decorates your home, making an attractive display of joy and hope for a changed world.

The tinsel cannot shine when in a box, and neither can God.

Let us all be impatient this year, and celebrate Christmas as soon as we possibly can.



Hymn – There’s a light upon the mountain

   1      There’s a light upon the mountains, and the day is at the spring,
           when our eyes shall see the beauty and the glory of the King;
           weary was our heart with waiting, and the night-watch seemed so long;
           but his triumph-day is breaking, and we hail it with a song.

   2      There’s a hush of expectation, and a quiet in the air;
           and the breath of God is moving in the fervent breath of prayer:
           for the suffering, dying Jesus is the Christ upon the throne,
           and the travail of our spirit is the travail of his own.

   3      He is breaking down the barriers, he is casting up the way;
           he is calling for his angels to build up the gates of day:
           but his angels here are human, not the shining hosts above;
           for the drum-beats of his army are the heart-beats of our love.

   4      Hark!  We hear a distant music, and it comes with fuller swell;
           ‘tis the triumph-song of Jesus, of our King, Immanuel:
           Zion, go now forth to meet him; and, my soul, be swift to bring
           all your finest and your noblest for the triumph of our King!

Henry Burton (1840–1930)

Prayers for others

Loving God, we thank you for all that you have given us, and as we enter into another Advent season, we thank you for the promise of your Son, and for all that his life brought, and brings, to this world.

And so, we pray that you will hear our prayers as we bring our concerns for your world.

We pray for Beatrice, and for David and Nathalie on this very special day for them as a family.  May the safe arrival of Beatrice bring joy to this family, and may her baptism be a reminder of your love for her, and our love for them as a family.

We pray for the world, for those for whom the onset of winter makes the reality of homelessness, poverty and hunger that much more difficult to bear.

As we give thanks for the birth of the Prince of Peace, we pray for those whose lives are scarred by war and the destruction of their homes and livelihoods.  We especially remember refugees trying desperately to cross the English Channel, and for those for whom their journeys have ended in tragedy this week.

We pray for your church in the world,

for the North East Somerset & Bath Circuit, of which we are a part, for it’s ministers, lay workers, churches and congregations – especially this week we join with the Circuit as we pray together for Weston, and their minister, Jan Tate.

We pray for our friends who are unwell, and their families who are supporting them, and for all those we know and love …………

And we pray for ourselves …….


God of all time and space, we pray to you:
Give us the ability to wait patiently for you.
Give us hearts that stay faithful, hands that are ready to reach out to others, and lives that are shaped by your love.

Give us expectant hearts as we listen for your voice.



Hymn – Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising


   1      Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
           give me joy in my heart, I pray;
           give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
           keep me praising till the break of day:
                Sing hosanna!  Sing hosanna!
                Sing hosanna to the King of kings!
                Sing hosanna!  Sing hosanna!
                Sing hosanna to the King!

   2      Give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
           give me peace in my heart, I pray;
           give me peace in my heart, keep me loving,
           keep me loving till the break of day:

   3      Give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
           give me love in my heart, I pray;
           give me love in my heart, keep me serving,
           keep me serving till the break of day:



Loving God, as we end our time together and leave this place, let us go in hope, live by hope, and be signs of hope for all to see.
In Jesus’ name.


More Pink Tinsel

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